TEXAS A&M - CORPUS CHRISTI (2-13, 1-2) AT SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA (6-8, 0-2)
Saturday, Jan. 14 • 7 p.m. CT
University Center (7,500) • Hammond, La.
THE OPENING TIP
The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi men's basketball team returns to the road in search of its second straight victory, when it takes on Southeastern Louisiana in a Saturday night contest in Hammond. The game will be carried live on NewsRadio 1360 KKTX and GoIslanders.com with Steven King on the call.
The Islanders are back in the win column after a 50-49 victory over UTSA on Wednesday night at the Convocation Center. Terence Jones had four threes in the game, including the winning basket with 1:07 left on the clock, to lift Texas A&M - Corpus Christi to the win. The Islanders held a 37-20 halftime lead, then was able to hold off UTSA's late surge to emerge victorious.
Southeastern is coming off a 99-59 win over Champion Baptist that snapped a five-game losing streak for the Lions. It was the first home game for Southeastern in nearly a month, as it last defeated Southern on Dec. 12 in overtime with a 65-61 triumph. The Lions have been without leading scorer Brandon Fortenberry for the last seven games due to injury.
• The Islanders shot .571 (16-for-28) from the floor in the first half at UTSA, their best shooting half of the season. That eclipsed the first half against Denver, where they went 11-of-21 (.524).
• Myron Dempsey has grabbed at least 10 rebounds in five of the last six games, averaging 9.7 boards over that span.
• The Islanders are shooting .444 from the field in conference play, including .532 (57-of-107) from inside the three-point line. The Islanders shot just .368 in non-conference action.
• Chris Hawkins-Mast has six straight double-digit scoring games. He is averaging 13.6 points over the last nine, including a career-high 22 at West Virginia.
• Johnathan Jordan had a career-high nine assists to just one turnover against McNeese State on Saturday. Jordan is second in the conference with 3.9 assists per game.
• After Terence Jones had a 1-for-23 stretch from beyond the arc, he hit four of his last 11, including the winner, at UTSA.
• Nate Maxey matched a school record with seven blocks against the Cowboys last Saturday. Maxey has already set a new mark for blocks by a freshman with 31 on the year.
• The Islanders have used seven different starting lineups, with 10 different players represented.
SCOUTING THE LIONS
Southeastern comes into Saturday's contest with a 6-8 overall record. The Lions had lost five in a row, all on the road, before a 99-59 win over Champion Baptist, a team that plays in the Association of Christian College Athletics, on Tuesday night. The Lions' three Division I victories have come against Louisiana-Monroe, Louisiana Tech and Southern.
Southeastern Louisiana has been without leading scorer Brandon Fortenberry (17.6 ppg), who has missed the last seven games for the Lions. Transfers Daron Populist (LSU) and Elgin Bailey (Mississippi State) are both making solid contributions for Southeastern. Roosevelt Johnson is averaging 10.6 points and 7.1 boards on the year to go along with a team-leading 13 blocks.
LAST TIME OUT
Terence Jones' go-ahead three with 1:07 to play lifted the Islanders to a 50-49 victory over UTSA on Wednesday. Jones led the way with 12 points for the Islanders (2-13, 1-2 Southland), who snapped an 11-game losing streak with the win. UTSA nearly pulled off a tremendous comeback, as the Islanders held a 37-20 halftime lead. But Jones' clutch three proved the difference, as Melvin Johnson III's desperation three at the buzzer rimmed out.
THE ALL-TIME SERIES
The Islanders are 5-1 all-time against Southeastern Louisiana, including a 1-1 mark in Hammond.The lone loss for A&M - Corpus Christi came in the team's last trip to the University Center, a 70-68 defeat on Feb. 25, 2009.
Last year, the game came down to a game-winning three from the top of the key by Horace Bond that lifted the Islanders to a 62-59 win at the American Bank Center. The Islanders are 3-0 against the Lions in Corpus Christi in addition to winning their opening round game in the 2007 Southland Tournament.
TWO THE HARD WAY
Junior college transfer Myron Dempsey has been an impact player on both ends. Against Utah State, he delivered his finest performance, tallying a double-double with 16 points and 15 rebounds in leading the Islanders to the upset victory.
The long, athletic rebounder is currently second in the Southland Conference with his 8.3 rebounds per game after averaging 9.7 per game over his last six outings, five of which have seen him hit double digits. Fifty-four of his 124 boards have come on the offensive end, a league-best 3.6 per contest.
He has also heated up from the field as of late. He has gone 26-for-49 (.531) from the field in the last four after going 8-for-36 (.222) over the previous five. He is second on the team both in blocks (14) and steals (20) after swatting three shots and garnering a pair of swipes at UTSA. However, his weakness is his ability at the line, where he is just 18-for-41 (.439).
But looking closer at the stats, it is amazing to see just how Dempsey has collected his points this year. The St. Petersburg, Fla., native has scored a total of 132 points. Of those, 108 have come from in the paint, including 54 of his 57 field goals. The junior also has a team-leading 45 second-chance points.
The Islanders have seen a solid improvement in their offense as of late. The Islanders are shooting .444 from the field in conference play, including .532 (57-of-107) from inside the three-point line.The Islanders shot just .368 in non-conference action.
The UTSA game was the ultimate example, as the Islanders had a season-high .571 shooting percentage in the first half (16-of-28) and went on to hit 46.8 percent on the game. Still, the Islanders struggled from beyond the arc, going just 6-of-21. That means that A&M - Corpus Christi shot 16-of-26 (.615) from inside the arc in San Antonio.
After being a role player in his first season for the Islanders, senior Chris Hawkins-Mast has emerged as one of the team's go-to guys on the offensive end. Hawkins-Mast is second on the team with his 12.0 points and 5.3 rebounds per contest.
On Dec. 17 against WVU, he delivered a career-best 22 points on 6-of-12 shooting and an 8-of-10 performance at the line.
He went just 15-for-50 (30 percent) from the field over the next four games before going 5-for-11 to lead the team with 15 points against Lamar on Jan. 4. He followed that up with 13 against McNeese State last Saturday, and then posted with 10 points at UTSA, all of which came in the paint. He is second on the team, behind Myron Dempsey, with 102 points in the paint.
Hawkins-Mast now has six straight games scoring in double digits, and is averaging 13.6 points per game over his last nine. He is tied with Terence Jones for a team-best 11 games with 10-plus points.
The native of Washington, D.C., went by the name "Chris Mast" a year ago, but chose to use his full legal name to honor his mother, whose maiden name is Hawkins.