Men's Basketball Embarks on Three-Game Road Trip
TEXAS A&M - CORPUS CHRISTI (4-16, 3-5) AT NICHOLLS (5-15, 1-7 SOUTHLAND)
Wednesday, Feb. 1 • 6:30 p.m. CT
Stopher Gym (3,800) • Thibodaux, La.
THE OPENING TIP
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi embarks on a three-game, six-day road trip, beginning with a Wednesday, Feb. 1, game at Nicholls. The Islanders also have games at Northwestern State (Saturday, Feb. 4) and Savannah State (Monday, Feb. 6). A&M - Corpus Christi has five of its next six games on the road and seven of its next nine. Steven King will have the call of Wednesday's contest, live on NewsRadio 1360 KKTX and GoIslanders.com.
The Islanders are coming off a disappointing 64-49 loss to Stephen F. Austin on Saturday night, as the Lumberjacks won the battle of the boards and turnovers to cruise to a 15-point victory. Terence Jones delivered 20 points for his second straight 20-point effort in the loss.
Nicholls has had its struggles this year, with its only conference win a 55-53 victory over Southeastern La. in Hammond. That is the only victory in the last nine games for the Colonels. Nicholls lost a hard-fought contest to McNeese State on Wednesday and fell at Lamar, 80-56, on Saturday night. The Colonels hold a 2-4 record at home this season.
• Terence Jones scored a career-high 33 points against Texas State on 9-of-18 shooting and a 13-of-14 outing at the line. It was the most points by an Islander since Kevin Palmer scored 35 against UT Arlington on March 12, 2009. He followed that up with 20 against Stephen F. Austin. He now has three 20-point games on the year and four in his career.
• The Islanders' "big three" scorers – Terence Jones, Chris Hawkins-Mast and Myron Dempsey – scored 62 of the team's 74 points against Texas State and 36 of the 49 against SFA. On the week, they netted 79.7 percent of the Islanders scoring.
• A&M – Corpus Christi won back-to-back games for the first time this season with the win over Texas State. The Islanders' only back-to-back wins last season came in the final two games.
• Texas A&M – Corpus Christi has overcome large second-half deficits in each of its last two wins. The Islanders came back from down 16 points (40-24) with 15 minutes left against Sam Houston, and rallied from a 10-point deficit (58-48) with 10 remaining against Texas State.
• Freshman Johnathan Jordan is on pace to break the school record for assists (Brian Evans, 132 in 2002-03). He leads the league with 4.5 assists per game overall and is on pace for 133.
SCOUTING THE COLONELS
Nicholls has lost eight of its last nine games, its lone win a 55-53 victory over Southeastern Louisiana on Jan. 21. Six of those nine contests have been played away from Thibodaux, but the Colonels have lost three straight at home.
Trevon Lewis leads the team with 13.4 points per game and 6.0 rebounds each time out. Nicholls has received balanced scoring from a number of other sources, as the Colonels have eight players averaging over six points. Nicholls has allowed 79.6 points per game, the second-highest total in the Southland, and has been outrebounded by an average of 8.6 boards.
LAST TIME OUT
Antonio Bostic led an efficient Stephen F. Austin offense with 18 points, and the Lumberjacks came away with a 64-49 victory over the Texas A&M – Corpus Christi men's basketball team on Homecoming Saturday night at the American Bank Center. Terence Jones carried the load offensively for the Islanders, scoring 20 points, his second game in a row with 20 plus.
Jereal Scott (13) and Hal Bateman (12) each finished in double figures for SFA, which improved to 11-9 (5-2 Southland). The Islanders fell to 4-16 overall and 3-5 in conference action in front of a crowd of 2,327.
THE ALL-TIME SERIES
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi holds a 4-1 all-time record against Nicholls, with the only loss coming a year ago at the American Bank Center. The Colonels took that game 72-52 and sent the Islanders on an eight-game losing streak to knock them out of the Southland Conference Tournament. A&M - Corpus Chrsiti has taken both matchups in Thibodaux, with a one-point victory in 2008 and a 71-46 win in 2009.
The Islanders have quite a journey ahead of them over the next week, as they have three road games over a span of six days. It is also the beginning of a stretch where they play five of six and seven of nine away from the Coastal Bend.
The Islanders will cover 2,178 air miles in addition to 500-plus miles of bus travel (mostly between Thibodaux and Natchitoches) during this trip. This road swing rivals the Islanders' ventures in the Las Vegas Classic, with four games in seven days.
Junior Terence Jones had delivered some big games this year, but against Texas State, he shifted into another gear. Playing in front of his son (Terence III) for the first time in Corpus Christi, the elder Terence netted a career-high 33 points on 9-of-18 shooting and 13-of-14 from the free-throw line.
The 33 points were the most by an Islanders player since Kevin Palmer scored 35 against UT Arlington on March 12, 2009, in the Southland Conference Tournament. Most impressive was the manner in which he scored his 33, as he did much of his damage on the drive as opposed to from the outside. He went 7-for-11 inside the arc and also used his drive to get to the stripe, where he came up just three FT shy of the school record.
He showed it was no fluke in the Stephen F. Austin contest, posting another 9-for-18 performance in which he scored 20 points for his third 20-point outing of the season and the fourth of his career. He now sits in seventh in the conference at 14.1 points per contest.
Jones now has 119 career threes, putting him fifth in Islanders lore. He needs just one triple to pass Lee Denmon III for fourth on the list.
THE BIG THREE
In the Islanders' win over Texas State, the top three scorers – Terence Jones, Chris Hawkins-Mast and Myron Dempsey – carried the lion's share of the load on the offensive end. The three combined to go 20-of-39 (the rest of the team was 3-of-18) and scored 62 of the team's 74 points. They also did the bulk of their damage in close, as they combined for 30 of the Islanders' 32 points in the paint.
Against Stephen F. Austin, the trio had 36 of the Islanders' 49 points. On the week, the threesome scored just shy of 80 percent of the team's points.
Senior Chris Hawkins-Mast had been somewhat quiet for the last several games, though he recently had a string of eight straight games in double-figure scoring. Still, he was lacking a standout contest.
He got just that against Texas State, notching his first career double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds. His runner in the lane gave the Islanders a 69-68 lead they would not relinquish in the closing minutes. He also grabbed a defensive rebound with the Islanders holding a 71-68 lead shortly thereafter.
Perhaps the most positive number was his 7-of-10 performance from the free-throw line, as the Washington, D.C., native has had struggles from the stripe throughout his Islanders career. He is second behind Myron Dempsey with his 132 points in the paint.