TEXAS A&M - CORPUS CHRISTI (5-23, 3-11) AT UT ARLINGTON (22-6, 14-0)
Wednesday, Feb. 29 • 7 p.m. CT
College Park Center (7,000) • Arlington, Texas
RADIO: NewsRadio 1360 AM KKTX (Steven King)
LIVE AUDIO: GoIslanders.com LIVE STATS: UTAMavs.com
THE OPENING TIP
The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi men's basketball team continues its road swing with a Wednesday night contest at UT Arlington. The Islanders will be making their first trip to the recently opened College Park Center, which debuted at the beginning of February. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. Steven King will have the call on NewsRadio 1360 KKTX and GoIslanders.com starting at 6:45 p.m. with the Navy/Army Community Credit Union Pregame Show.
The Mavs have already clinched the Southland regular-season title, while the Islanders have been eliminated from contention in the conference tournament. UTA is yet to be defeated in league play, posting a 14-0 mark following its 79-70 win over Northwestern State on Saturday night. The Mavericks' only loss since Dec. 7 came in the Sears Bracketbusters at Weber State a week and a half ago.
A&M - Corpus Christi is coming off a decisive 74-41 loss at Stephen F. Austin. Chris Hawkins-Mast had a double-double with 15 points and 11 boards in the loss, his fourth double-double in the last 10 games.
• A&M – Corpus Christi placed five players in double figures for the first time this season when the starting five all had 10 points or more last week against UTSA. The last time the Islanders did that was against UTA on March 2, 2011.
• The Islanders also saw two freshmen post double-doubles in the same game, as Nate Maxey (10 points, 10 rebounds) and Johnathan Jordan (12 points, 10 assists) each posted their first career double-doubles in the contest. The last time two Islanders had double-doubles in the same game was last year against Bethune-Cookman (Demond Watt and Justin Reynolds).
• The 31 field goals for the Islanders on Wednesday was the most this season, eclipsing the previous high (26 vs. UTA) by five. It matched last year's season high, in the aforementioned March 2 game.
• In stark contrast, the Islanders emerged victorious at Central Michigan without having a single player finish in double figures in scoring. It is the first time in Islanders history that the team won without a double-digit scorer.
• Jordan's 10 dimes were the most since Terence Jones had 10 in that same UTA contest last year. It was one shy of the school record, set by Sennai Atsbeha in 2000. Jordan is three assists from the Islanders season record.
SCOUTING THE MAVERICKS
UT Arlington sits at 14-0 in conference play and 22-6 overall, as it has already clinched the conference regular-season title in its final year as a Southland member. Since starting the year 4-5, the Mavericks have gone 18-1, the only loss coming at the hands of Weber State in the Sears Bracketbusters.
LaMarcus Reed III leads the team with a 17.1 scoring average, as he has connected on over 40 percent of his threes this year. Bo Ingram has added 12.6 and Kevin Butler 10.7 to give the Mavs three players in double figures. Eight different Mavs average at least five points.
LAST TIME OUT
Stephen F. Austin used a strong defensive effort and an impressive inside attack to post a 74-41 victory over the Texas A&M – Corpus Christi men's basketball team on Saturday night. The Lumberjacks put four players in double figures, as Antonio Bostic, Desmond Haymonn and Taylor Smith led the way with 17 points each.
Jonathan King added 14 points and 10 boards, while Smith's 12 rebounds gave the Lumberjacks (17-11, 10-4 SLC) two players with double-doubles. Chris Hawkins-Mast led the way for the Islanders with a double-double of his own, scoring 15 points to go with 11 rebounds.
THE ALL-TIME SERIES
The Islanders hold a 7-5 edge over the Mavericks in the series between the two schools. In Corpus Christi, the Islanders have a 4-2 advantage, while the Mavericks have a 3-2 edge in Arlington. The Islanders also knocked off UTA in the opening round of the 2009 Southland Tournament, 79-72.
In the first game between the teams this year, the Mavericks jumped out to a 33-8 lead, then held off a vicious Islanders charge for a 77-73 victory. Kennon Dvorak had a career-high 15 points and Terence Jones had 17 in a losing effort in the contest.
The Islanders placed five players in double figures against UTSA on Wednesday, the first time the team has done that since March 2 of last year. Terence Jones (26) led the way, but all five starters had 10-plus points in a losing effort. Each of the five converted at least four field goals as well, with the Islanders posting 70 of their 82 points from their starters. The Islanders have topped 70 points as a team just two other times.
ON THE OTHER HAND
Perhaps the more interesting thing about the Islanders placing five in double figures is what happened the previous game. At Central Michigan, the Islanders didn't have a single player get into double figures (Terence Jones led the team with nine) but A&M - Corpus Christi won the game. It was the first time in program history that the team won without having a player score 10 points.
The bigger factor in wins and losses has been the number of points allowed for the Islanders. When holding the opposition to 55 points or fewer, the Islanders are 4-1. In games where the opposition has scored at least 56, Texas A&M - Corpus Christi is 1-20. The lone win was a 74-68 victory over Texas State on Jan. 25.
Terence Jones etched his name in the record book at Savannah State, as he moved into 10th place on the Islanders all-time scoring list. He now has 855 career points after leading the team with 26 points, including a career-high seven threes, against UTSA.
He netted a career-high 33 points against Texas State on 9-of-18 shooting and 13-of-14 from the line. The 33 points were the most by an Islander since Kevin Palmer's 35 against UTA on March 12, 2009.
He added 20 points on 9-of-18 shooting vs. Stephen F. Austin and 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 is sixth overall in scoring (13.8) in the Southland.
Jones has 143 career threes, putting him third in Islanders lore.
MAKING A POINT
Freshman Johnathan Jordan has shown tremendous poise for a player in his first year of college basketball, leading the Islanders offense from the point.
The Houston native currently sits atop the Southland with 4.6 assists per game after tallying a career-best 10 assists against UTSA last Wednesday. He had his first career double-double in the contest, delivering 12 points along with his 10 dimes.
Among frosh, he is currently 10th nationally with that assist-per-game average, just behind Michigan's Trey Burke and Kentucky's Marquis Teague. He is 89th overall in the nation in assists per game.
He is also making his way up the Islanders' single-season list, as his 129 assists place him third in school history. He is just three assists shy of the record of 132, set by Brian Evans in the 2002-03 season.
Jordan isn't the only Islander freshman making an assault on the record book. San Diego's Nate Maxey is within range of toppling the school record in blocked shots, as he is currently fourth on the single-season list and just six away from matching Chris Daniels' single-season record of 53. The big man is currently on pace for 51 swats this year.
Maxey had just one block against UTSA last Wednesday, but it was probably his best overall performance of the year. He was a monster on both ends of the floor, finishing with 10 points and 10 rebounds in just 23 minutes of action.
While his 6-foot-11 frame is impressive enough, Maxey's ridiculous arm length is what sets him apart. The freshman has a 7-foot-9 wingspan.