Friday, Nov. 26 & Saturday, Nov. 27
(7,471) • Las Vegas, Nev.
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The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi men's basketball team will conclude its 5,000-mile road trip this weekend with a pair of games at the Orleans Arena in the iBN Las Vegas Invitational. The Islanders take on Bethune-Cookman in the opening matchup of the tourney and then will face either Valparaiso or Northern Colorado. All three teams have lost their opening two games of the Invitational, as all of them played a pair of road games in the on-campus, preliminary rounds of the event.
The Islanders sit at 1-4 on the season after falling to No. 6 Kansas on Tuesday night. The Jayhawks defense and transition offense was too much for Texas A&M - Corpus Christi in the game, as the high-octane attack shot over 60 percent from the field. Demond Watt, Justin Reynolds and Jaamon Echols had seven points apiece in the loss, while Horace Bond scored six and had a season-high eight rebounds. The Islanders had a season-low 12 fouls in the contest.
- The Islanders are one of eight teams playing in the LVI. The first two games were on campus sites for each team.
- Texas A&M - Corpus Christi is 1-1 against Bethune-Cookman all-time, 0-2 against Valpo and 3-0 against Northern Colorado.
- Senior Demond Watt had a career-high 26 points and matched a career best with five assists to go along with 12 boards against Ohio on Sunday.
- Watt currently leads the Southland Conference in rebounding (10.0), is tied for fourth in blocks (1.2) and is 13th in scoring (15.0).
- Freshman Jaamon Echols has averaged 20.3 minutes over the last three games after playing just 11 total in his first two. He has seven assists over the last three contests.
Bethune-Cookman sits at 2-2 on the season, with wins over Edward Waters and Stetson and losses in the LVI to Santa Clara and Arizona. C.J. Reed leads the way with 20.3 points per game to go along with 4.8 assists and 2.8 steals. Garrius Holloman is averaging 10 points and 6.5 boards on the year.
The Islanders and Wildcats have met twice before, with Texas A&M - Corpus Christi taking the home matchup and Bethune-Cookman winning the affair in Daytona Beach. The Islanders won 87-72 in Corpus Christi in the team's inaugural season, while the Wildcats garnered a 93-92 overtime win the following year.
Valparaiso is 2-2 on the year with wins over IU-Northwest and Purdue North Central. The Crusaders played the same two preliminary-round opponents as the Islanders in the Las Vegas Invitational, falling at Ohio, 78-75, and at Kansas, 79-44. Valpo has three players averaging over 15 points per game on the season.
Like BCU, Valpo played the Islanders in the team's first two years of existence, but the Crusaders took both matchups. Valpo won 75-67 in Corpus Christi in the seventh game in Islanders history, then took a 94-72 decision in 2000.
Northern Colorado enters Las Vegas with a 2-2 slate, including wins over Wyoming and Tabor College and losses to Arizona (93-70) and Santa Clara (87-84). The back-to-back losses mark the first time the Bears have lost consecutive games in two years. Devon Beitzel leads the way for UNC at 14.8 points every time out, while three others are averaging double digits.
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi is 3-0 all time against Northern Colorado, winning in three straight years from 2004-06.
UP THE MILES
The Islanders will certainly see a big chunk of the country over this five-game road swing. On the trip, the team will cover 4,793 nautical miles in flights in addition to 261 miles racked up on the bus. The team will touch down in seven states in its travels, and will appear in three different time zones. Texas A&M - Corpus Christi will make five stops in Dallas-Fort Worth Airport on the trip.