Men's Basketball Hosts Stephen F. Austin SundaySTEPHEN F. AUSTIN (17-8, 8-5 SOUTHLAND) AT TEXAS A&M - CORPUS CHRISTI (8-20, 3-10)
Sunday, Feb. 27 • 1 p.m. CT
American Bank Center (8,100) • 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 returns home on Sunday, Feb. 27, looking to sweep its season series against Stephen F. Austin. The Islanders defeated the Lumberjacks 46-45 on Jan. 29 in Nacogdoches on Justin Reynolds' free throw with 1.8 seconds remaining.
The Islanders are coming off a 71-62 defeat at the hands of UTSA on Wednesday night. Reynolds had his third double-double of the season with 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Demond Watt (15) and Terence Jones (12) each finished in double figures as well. UTSA got out to a hot start and the Islanders pulled within five in the second half, but were unable to draw any closer.
SFA knocked off Lamar 60-55 after holding off a late charge from the Cardinals. The Lumberjacks were led by Jereal Scott's 13 points, while Eddie Williams had 12 and Antonio Bostic posted 11. SFA was able to slow down the fast-paced Cards enough to hold them to 22 field goals in the game.
• The Islanders hit 21-of-25 free throws against UTSA on Wednesday night, one of their top games at the line this year. Justin Reynolds matched career highs with nine free throws made and 11 attempted.
• Senior Justin Reynolds had his third double-double of the season against UTSA. The Pearland native scored 16 points and grabbed 10 boards in a losing effort. It was his second double-double of the month, as he had 19 and 15 vs. Savannah State.
• In just his third game back from a foot injury, Chris Mast appears to be hitting on all cylinders. The junior college transfer had 11 points and a career-best eight boards against Lamar after scoring 10 points to go along with six boards and two steals against Texas State on Feb. 15.
• Demond Watt got back in the scoring groove with 19 points against Lamar on Saturday, his best output in the month of February. However, the big man had just five rebounds, and has not hit double digits in caroms during the Islanders' losing streak.
• Sophomore Terence Jones had a banner day from the field last week at Sam Houston State, as the Baltimore native scored a career-high 21 points. Jones was 4-of-7 from downtown and 8-of-14 from the field in the contest.
• In his second start of the season at SHSU, Jawan Nelson had one of his finest games in an Islanders uniform. The junior scored 10 points and added six boards in a career-high 24 minutes. He added nine points against Texas State.
• Reynolds and fellow senior Demond Watt 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. Watt (1,225) is sixth in school history, while Reynolds (1,196) is seventh in Islanders lore.
SCOUTING THE LUMBERJACKS
Stephen F. Austin has been arguably the top team in the Southland's West Division this season, sporting a 17-8 overall record to go along with an 8-5 mark in conference play. Since a loss at Texas State on Feb. 2, SFA has won five of six games to pull within one game of the first-place Texas State and McNeese State.
Jereal Scott leads SFA with 13.5 points, while Jordan Glynn has added 11.1 points and 8.2 boards. The Lumberjacks are one of the top defensive teams in the nation, surrendering just 55.6 points every time out. Eleven different Lumberjacks average at least four points per game in Danny Kaspar's offensive scheme, and the squad shoots an aggregate .461.
A LOOK AT THE SOUTHLAND
With three games remaining per team, the Southland is still wide open, especially in the West. Texas State is in the lead at 9-4, but Stephen F. Austin is just behind at 8-5. Sam Houston State, UTSA and UT Arlington are just a game behind the Bobcats at 7-6 in conference action. The Islanders are 3-10 in league play.
In the East, things are only slightly more spread out, with McNeese State atop the division at 9-4. Northwestern State is 8-5 on the season, while Nicholls currently occupies the last spot in the tourney at 7-6. Southeastern Louisiana and Lamar are 6-7 on the year, while Central Arkansas sits at 1-11.
QUALITY AT THE STRIPE
The Islanders had one of their best games of the season at the free-throw line on Wednesday at UTSA. As a team, Texas A&M - Corpus Christi went 21-for-25 at the line, led by a 9-for-11 performance from Justin Reynolds. Each of those numbers matched career highs for the senior. Demond Watt and Horace Bond each went 3-for-4, while Garland Judkins, Terence Jones and Jaamon Echols were all 2-for-2 at the stripe.
Senior Justin Reynolds came into this season as one of the most popular players in program history. But after a slow start to his final campaign in an Islanders uniform, even the most devoted of fans had to question whether he had lost some of his luster.
After a recent dry spell, the Pearland, Texas, native caught fire against Savannah State with one of his top outings in an Islander uniform. The senior grabbed a career-high 15 boards to go along with 19 points, his second highest output of the season. He followed that with a team-high 16 points against Texas State, including the team's only two three-pointers. He added 16 points and 10 rebounds his last time out at UTSA, his third double-double of the season.
He rang in the New Year with his previous best performance of the season, scoring 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting to go along with three steals against Texas Tech.
Reynolds, who was named to the Dr. Pepper Classic All-Tournament Team for his efforts on the court, is averaging 10.2 points per game after his 16 on Wednesday. He is in the top seven in school history in eight different categories.
Junior college transfer Chris Mast was just beginning to excel in his role for the Islanders when a foot injury against Stephen F. Austin sidelined him for three games. Still, the junior college transfer has worked his way back, and the last two games have been strong ones for the Washington, D.C., native.
Last time out, Mast scored 11 points and matched his career high with eight rebounds against Lamar. The athletic wing was 4-of-6 from the field, hit all three of his free throws and delivered two assists and two steals.
That followed a solid game against Texas State on Feb. 15, when Mast came off the bench to net 10 points and six boards. He played eight minutes in his first game back from injury at Sam Houston State.
In the first game against UTSA, Mast scored a career-best 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting to go along with three rebounds, three assists and two steals. He set the tone for his breakthrough contest in the opening minute, when he swiped a Roadrunner pass and took it all the way for a fast-break dunk to put the Islanders up 2-0.
The native of Washington, D.C., who also scored nine points at Oklahoma State, is averaging 20.8 minutes and 5.0 points so far this year.