Saturday, Jan. 22 • 7 p.m. CT
Dugan Wellness Center (1,200) • Corpus Christi, Texas
RADIO: 1230 AM, 103.3 and 96.1 FM (Steven King)
LIVE VIDEO/STATS: GoIslanders.com
THE OPENING TIP
The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi men's basketball team will look to conjure up some home cooking, as it returns to the Coastal Bend for a conference clash with Sam Houston State on Saturday. This will be the lone regular-season game for the Islanders at the Dugan Wellness Center, as the teams will tip off at 7 p.m. on campus. The Islanders sit at 6-12 on the year and 1-3 in conference action, while the Bearkats are 9-8 with a 2-2 league mark.
The Islanders are coming off a 70-49 defeat at the hands of UT-Arlington on Wednesday. Demond Watt had 18 points and 12 rebounds in the loss, for his league-leading eighth double-double of the season. The Islanders were in step with the Mavericks until midway through the second half, but the home squad used a 27-5 run to put the game out of reach. SHSU fell at the hands of Texas State in San Marcos last time out, 95-91. Gilberto Clavell led the way with 26 points and eight boards in the loss, while Josten Crow added 23 for the Bearkats.
• Senior Demond Watt leads the Southland Conference with eight double-doubles on the season, and is just shy of averaging double-digit boards at 9.8 per outing. He leads the Southland and is 27th nationally in that statistic. Watt has back-to-back double-doubles to go along with three straight games with 10-plus caroms. His 19 double-doubles are tied for second in school history.
• Head Coach Perry Clark won his 300th career game on Saturday, becoming the 74th active coach to reach the milestone in Division I. The veteran coach is now 300-261 in his 19-year career, and was named the 1992 National Coach of the Year.
• Texas A&M - Corpus Christi has posted a 4-2 record this season at home, and are playing their lone game of the season at the Dugan Wellness Center tonight. The team is 2-0 all-time at the facility. The Islanders are still searching for their first road victory, sitting at 0-8 on the year to go along with a 2-2 neutral-site mark.
• Watt and fellow senior Justin Reynolds are just the second pair of Islanders teammates to top 1,000 career points at the same time, joining Corey Lamkin and Travis Bailey, who did so in 2005. Reynolds (1,085) is sixth in school history, while Watt (1,075) is eighth in Islanders lore.
• The Islanders played one of the toughest non-conference slates in the nation this year. Texas A&M - Corpus Christi played six teams that made the 2010 NCAA Tournament and two that made the 2010 NIT in non-conference play.
Tonight's game will be held on campus at the Dugan Wellness Center with the American Bank Center unavailable. The Islanders are 2-0 at Dugan all-time, with wins over UTSA and St. Edward's in the building.
SCOUTING THE BEARKATS
Sam Houston State enters tonight's game at 9-8 overall and 2-2 in conference play. The Bearkats have essentially alternated wins and losses all season, with no winning streak or losing streak longer than two on the year. The Islanders and Bearkats have three common opponents on the season. SHSU is 0-2 against Houston, but knocked off UTSA. Both teams lost to UT-Arlington.
Gilberto Clavell is one of the top players in the conference, sitting second in the Southland with his 19.3 scoring average on the season to go along with 7.5 rebounds. Josten Crow has added 13.3 for Sam Houston State, while Drae Murray is among the SLC's best with 76 assists to 25 turnovers.
Senior Demond Watt has been one of the top rebounders in the Southland this year, and he has stepped it up in conference play. He has back-to-back double-doubles and has registered 10-plus rebounds in his last three outings.
The Chicago native scored 13 points and added 10 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the year. But more importantly, he came through when his team needed it most, delivering two three-point plays - one that gave the Islanders a two-point lead and another that turned a 46-46 tie into a three-point edge.
He added another double-double at UT-Arlington on Wednesday, posting 18 points and 12 boards. The Chicago native hit his first seven shots from the field in the game.
He was recognized for his efforts in a win against Houston by earning Southland Conference Player of the Week honors, the first weekly honor of his career. He scored 17 points and had nine rebounds in 41 minutes. He is currently third in the conference in minutes, trailing only guards Devin Gibson and Anatoly Bose in that category.
Watt was named to the iBN Las Vegas Invitational All-Tournament Team for his play in the City of Lights. He posted his third double-double of the season against Bethune-Cookman, and, in fact, had done so before halftime. The Chicago native finished with 23 points and 15 boards, each the second-highest mark of the year for the big man.
On Nov. 21 against Ohio, Watt poured in a career-high 26 points to go along with 12 rebounds and a career-high tying five assists. Against Texas A&M on Nov. 15, Watt scored 21 points and a career-high 16 rebounds. It marked the most rebounds by an Islanders player since Corey Lamkin had 18 at Air Force on Jan. 21, 2004.
Head Coach Perry Clark won his 300th career game on Saturday, becoming the 74th active coach to reach the milestone in Division I. He joins New Hampshire's Bill Herrion and Gonzaga's Mark Few in making the club this year. The veteran coach is now 300-260 in his 19-year career, and was named the 1992 National Coach of the Year.
The Islanders have played their best basketball this season when getting scoring from a wide array of sources. The Islanders are 2-1 when seeing four players score in double figures and 4-3 when three men hit double digits.
Though only two players finished in double figures, the trend continued against Southeastern Louisiana. In addition to Demond Watt's 13 and Chris Mast's 10, the Islanders got nine points from Garland Judkins and Justin Reynolds in addition to seven from Horace Bond.