The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi men's basketball team opens 2010 with a stiff test Saturday when it visits second-ranked Texas at 3:30 p.m. in the Frank Erwin Center. The game will be broadcast in the state of Texas on FoxSports Southwest and nationally as part of ESPN's Full Court package and on ESPN360.com.
Fans can also listen to the game on ESPN1230 with Steven King with the call. Live stats will be available on TexasSports.com.
The Islanders enter the contest with a record of 5-6 after routing Oklahoma Panhandle State 97-67 in their final game of 2009. Texas is unbeaten at 12-0 and has won each game by double figures. The Longhorns, who are off to their best start since beginning 14-0 in 1981-82, handed Gardner-Webb a 95-63 defeat on Tuesday.
For the Islanders, the win Oklahoma Panhandle State saw the Islanders score the second-most under head coach Perry Clark's guidance. The 97 points were second to the 98 tallied a season ago against UNC Wilmington in the South Padre Invitational. The win snapped a four-game losing streak for the Islanders.
Kevin Palmer and Demond Watt led four Islanders with double-digit points in the win finishing with 18 points apiece. Filip Toncinic came off the bench tying his career-best with 14 points, while Justin Reynolds added 11. LaMarr Drake recorded nine assists which is the most by an Islander this season. Palmer is averaging 20.2 points a game which is second in the Southland Conference. Watt is second with 11 points a game and tops with 7.5 rebounds.
The Islanders will be facing a ranked opponent for the sixth time in school history. It will be the second time in 10-plus seasons that A&M-Corpus Christi has faced the second-ranked team in the county and fourth game versus an opponent ranked in the top 10. The islanders faced second-ranked Illinois during the 2001-02 season falling 80-56 and fell at home in January 2005 to Oklahoma State, 86-61. The Islanders most recent game versus a ranked opponent was in the NCAA Tournament in 2007 when they dropped a 76-63 decision to Wisconsin who was ranked sixth at the time.
Texas is led by Daimon Jones , who is on the preseason Wooden Award watch list and on the Naismith Trophy watch list with Avery Bradley. Jones averages a double-double with 16.8 points and 11.0 rebounds to lead the team. Three other players average double figures - Dexter Pittman (13.8), J'Covan Brown (12.2) and Bradley (11.3.)