February 6, 2009

GAME CLASH OF TOP IN WEST, EAST DIVISIONS

The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi men's basketball team will look to take a step closer to clinching a spot in the Southland Conference Tournament on Saturday when it visits Nicholls at Stopher Gymnasium.

The game will pit the Islanders (12-10), who at 6-1 share the Southland Conference West Division lead with Sam Houston State, against the 13-8 Colonels, who are tied atop the East Division with Stephen F. Austin at 6-2 and have won five straight games.

The meeting will be third all-time between the sides with the Islanders winning the prior two games. Last season, A&M-Corpus Christi won 50-47 at Nicholls as Chris Daniels hit a three-point basket with 29 seconds remaining to give the team the lead 49-47. Filip Toncinic sealed the win with a free throw. The 50 points in a win are the fewest points in a winning effort by the Islanders their two-plus seasons in the league. Two seasons ago, A&M-Corpus Christi and Nicholls met in shootout with the Islanders winning 107-91 marking the most points it has scored in a Southland Conference effort.

The game will pit two of the top defensive teams in the league against each other. Both teams rank in the top 13 in the nation in steals. The Islanders are 11th and the Colonels 13th. The Colonels are 14th in the nation in points allowed at 59 per game.

Kevin Palmer is the lone Islander in double digits scoring 17.0 points a game through 22 contests and is 11th in the nation with 2.7 steals. He has led the team in scoring 17 times. In SLC action, Palmer has raised his average to 18.7 points a game and is joined by Tim Green in double digits. Green is scoring 11.9 a game with four other players over eight a game.

Ryan Bathie leads the way with 15.1 points a contest for Nicholls, while Anatoly Bose averages 13.7. Kellan Carter and Justin Payne each average 2.0 steals a game.

The Islanders remain on the road Wednesday as they head to San Marcos for clash with Texas State. It will be the second meetings between the two sides. The game is slated to tip at 7 p.m.