TEXAS A&M - CORPUS CHRISTI (4-18) AT SAVANNAH STATE (13-10)
Monday, Feb. 6 • 8 p.m. ET
Tiger Arena (6,000) • Savannah, Ga.
RADIO: NewsRadio 1360 AM KKTX (Steven King)/GoIslanders.com
LIVE STATS: SSUAthletics.com
THE OPENING TIP
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi will conclude its week-long road trip with a Monday night game at Savannah State in Tiger Arena. The game will be the second of a doubleheader with the women's team playing Longwood, with that contest slated for a 6 p.m. tipoff. Start time for the men's game is tentatively set for 8 p.m. Steven King will have the call of the game on NewsRadio 1360 KKTX and GoIslanders.com.
The Islanders have dropped three straight games and currently sit 3-7 and on the edge of the Southland Conference Tournament. Their last time out, A&M - Corpus Christi lost a tough contest to Northwestern State in Natchitoches, falling 82-68. Chris Hawkins-Mast had one of his finest games as an Islander, dropping 21 points and snaring 16 boards in the loss.
Savannah State is 13-10 overall and 7-2 in conference play. The Tigers have won five and a row and eight of their last nine. The team has been particularly difficult in Tiger Arena, holding a 9-1 record in the building.
• Chris Hawkins-Mast is coming off one of his best games in an Islanders uniform with 21 points and a career-best 16 boards at Northwestern State. The 16 rebounds were the most for an Islander since Demond Watt had 16 against Texas A&M last year.
• Terence Jones has three 20-point games in his last four and has averaged 23 points over that span. He is 30-for-60 overall, 13-of-26 from downtown and 19-for-23 from the stripe.
• A&M – Corpus Christi has seen strong improvement at the free-throw line over the last six games. The Islanders have shot .667 at the stripe over that string, in contrast to a .575 mark prior to the UTA contest.
• Jason Smith had a career-best 12 points at Northwestern State, going 4-of-8 from the field.
• 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 poised to have an opportunity to break the school record for assists (Brian Evans, 132 in 2002-03). He leads the league with 4.4 assists per game and is on pace for 132.
SCOUTING THE TIGERS
Savannah State has had a strong season under Horace Broadnax, going 13-10 despite playing one of the toughest non-conference schedules in Division I basketball. After a 1-5 mark out of the gate, SSU has gone 12-5 since then, with losses to Arkansas, Georgia Tech and Wisconsin among those five.
Rashad Hassan leads the team with her 13.0 points per game, while Deric Rudolph has also averaged in double figures with 11 points. Arnold Louis has been the primary force inside with 9.3 points and 8.3 rebounds each time out.
LAST TIME OUT
Chris Hawkins-Mast scored 21 points and grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds, but Northwestern State outdueled the Texas A&M – Corpus Christi men's basketball team in an 82-68 victory on Saturday at Prather Coliseum. Terence Jones added 21 points and Jason Smith had a career-best 12 in a losing effort.
Louis Ellis led the way with 17 points for the Demons (14-9, 7-2 Southland), who maintained their hold on first place on the East Division of the conference with the win. Shamir Davis (15) and James Hulbin (14) finished in double figures as well. William Mosley had nine boards and four blocks for NSU. The Islanders won the battle of the boards, 41-34.
THE ALL-TIME SERIES
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi holds an 8-2 edge in the all-time series against the Tigers, with many of the 10 contests coming when the schools were both independents. The Islanders are 4-1 both at home and on the road against Savannah State, but have fallen in each of the last two meetings, including a stunning 63-57 overtime defeat at the American Bank Center on Feb. 7 of last year. The last trip to Savannah resulted in a 47-42 defeat in 2008.
The Islanders are wrapping up quite a journey over the past week, as this is the final of 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. He added 21 at Northwestern State, going 5-of-7 from the outside, for his fourth 20-point outing of the season and the fifth of his career. He now sits in sixth in the conference at 14.4 points per contest.
Jones now has 128 career threes, putting him fourth in Islanders lore. He is still over 40 away from the school record. Here is the all-time list in the category:
Senior Chris Hawkins-Mast has had an interesting senior season. An electric player, Hawkins-Mast has still been overshadowed by Terence Jones, but in many cases he has put up strong, consistent numbers.
He got his first standout performance against Texas State on Jan. 25, 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.
His last contest was even better, as he went 9-of-18 from the field for 21 points and snared a career-best 16 rebounds, the most since Demond Watt had 16 against Texas A&M last year. He now has two double-doubles in his last four games and is averaging 14.5 points and 8.5 rebounds in that span.
On the season, the Washington, D.C. native is second on the team in both scoring (12.2) and rebounds (5.7). He has a tremendous ability to get to the rim, and has now taken over the team lead in points in the paint, with 154 on the season. He is 84-of-185 (.454) on two-point shots this year.