ISLANDERS, SHSU TO DO BATTLE FOR TOP OF WEST DIVISION
The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi men's basketball team will put its unbeaten record in Southland Conference play on the line Saturday when they visit the Sam Houston State Bearkats at 2 p.m. on Saturday at Johnson Coliseum.
The game is the Southland Conference Network Game of the Week but is not available in the Corpus Christi market. Fans can catch live video on Southland.org with live audio on ESPN 1230 KSIX. Those outside the Corpus Christi market can check their local listings for availability in their local area.
A&M-Corpus Christi enters the contest 11-9 overall and is the last remaining unbeaten team in Southland Conference play. The Bearkats are 4-1 in league action after opening conference play with a loss to East Division leader Stephen F. Austin.
The contest will be the eighth all-time between the two sides and the fifth since the Islanders joined the league two years ago. SHSU leads the all-time series 4-3 with the teams splitting their four SLC games. Last year, TAMUCC downed the Bearkats 70-63 in the final game of the regular season. Sam Houston State won on its homecourt by a 71-53 margin.
A win for the Islanders would be big placing them two games in front of the rest of the West Division at 6-0 with wins over two of their top foes in the division. A loss would cause a two-tie at the top of the division with the Bearkats.
The Islanders enter the game on a roll in all phases. The team hit a season-best 57.4% of its shots against UTSA in their last outing and is now hitting 50.2% of its shots in league games. In SLC action, they lead teams in scoring margin winning by nearly 17 points a game. They are averaging over 42 rebounds a contest which is first in the league and are tops in rebounding margin at +9.4 a game. Defensively, the team is allowing 7.1 fewer points a contest since conference play started with points scoring just 62.6 a game SLC play.
With 19.8 points a game, Kevin Palmer continues to lead the Southland in scoring with one other Islander, who has played all five games in double digits and two others at over nine a game. Tim Green has tallied 13.6 a game, while Shamar Coombs is adding 9.8 and Filip Toncinic, who had his first double-double as an Islander with 13 points and 11 rebounds versus UTSA, at 9.4 a game. Four Islanders, led by Palmer, are pulling down six boards a game.
The team may also be bolstered by the return of Demond Watt. Watt, who had 14 points and 10 rebounds in the SLC opener against Central Arkansas, has been out since the opener with an injury. He is averaging 9.4 points and 6.6 rebounds a game.
Sam Houston State, which averages over 75 points a game, is led by Corey Allmond in scoring. The guard is averaging 14.5 points a game and is among the national leaders in three-point shooting. Ashton Mitchell is also averaging over 13 points and leads the team with 6.7 assists and 1.9 steals a game. DeLuis Ramirez leads the team in rebounding with 6.7.
The Islanders return home for a single game on Wednesday to host UT Arlington at 7 p.m.