ISLANDERS AT IOWA
SATURDAY, DEC. 1 • NOON
CARVER-HAWKEYE ARENA • IOWA CITY, IOWA
RADIO: NEWSRADIO 1360 KKTX (YANNIS KOUTROUPIS)
THE OPENING TIP
The Islanders men's basketball team will conclude its pre-finals schedule at Iowa on Saturday. Texas A&M - Corpus Christi will have a two-week break following the contest. The Islanders are looking to snap a four-game losing streak in their first contest against the Hawkeyes, who enter the contest having lost two straight.
• The Islanders have one of the youngest teams in Division I, with an average age of 20 years, four months and five days heading into today's matchup.
• Toledo got 35 of its 80 points at the line on Wednesday, including 27 of its 36 in the second half. A&M - Corpus Christi was whistled for 35 fouls.
• Johnathan Jordan had a career-high 22 points in the loss to the Rockets, adding eight rebounds and three assists. He is the only Southland player in the league's top 10 in scoring, rebounds and assists per game.
• A&M - Corpus Christi went wire-to-wire with Houston on Sunday before falling in a 77-75 defeat.
• Nate Maxey set a school record with nine blocks against the Cougars, eight of them coming in the first half. He entered the week third in the nation in blocks per game.
• Texas A&M - Corpus Christi is ineligible for the postseason because of poor results in the NCAA's Academic Progress Rate. No Islander who has played under Wilson had anything to do with the subpar score.
HAWKEYE STATE VISITS
While it is their first contest against the state's flagship school, Saturday's contest will represent the Islanders' third trip to the state of Iowa. A&M - Corpus Christi took part in the Holiday Tribune Classic, hosted by Iowa State, in their inaugural season. In that tourney, the visitors knocked off Samford, 76-74, but fell to the host Cyclones 86-64. On Jan. 10, 2005, Ronnie Arrow's troops took on Drake, falling to the Bulldogs, 91-80.
LAST OF THE BIG SIX
The Islanders have a slew of marquee wins in their brief history as a program, but the Big Ten (0-6) remains the only one of the "Big Six" conferences that doesn't have a member who has fallen victim to Texas A&M - Corpus Christi. The Islanders have dropped contests to Illinois (0-2), Northwestern (0-2), Purdue (0-1) and the 2007 NCAA Tournament loss to Wisconsin.
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi has wins over current members of all the other Big Six leagues. Here is a list of the Islanders wins over the nation's top competition:
Win vs. Florida State
Big East 2-2
Both wins vs. USF
Big 12 4-20
Wins vs. Baylor, TCU, Texas Tech
Win vs. Oregon State
Win vs. Georgia, Texas A&M
He's only a sophomore, but Houston native Johnathan Jordan has been thrust into the role of leader on the young Islanders squad. Jordan led the Southland in assists per game in 2011-12 and despite his newbie status, was also among the leaders in minutes per game. With 26 starts as a freshman, he entered the year with nearly as many Division I starts as the rest of his teammates combined (34).
Jordan was outstanding as a distributor a season ago, but his growth as a scorer is notable. After averaging 6.5 points a season ago, the point guard has contributed 13.2 points per game, largely on his ability to get to the rim. Despite his 5-foot-10 frame, he leads the team with 36 points in the paint.
After struggling to an 0-for-7 offensive performance against Houston, he had a big-time bounceback against Toledo. The point guard went 5-for-9 from the field and added a 12-for-14 performance at the line for a career-high 22 points.
Perhaps more impressive is Jordan's all-around game. His distribution is what he is most known for, and with 5.3 assists per game this year, he entered the week 45th in the nation. He is also strong on the glass, having grabbed 17 boards his last two games to up his average to 6.0 per game. The sophomore is the only player in the Southland in the top 10 of scoring, rebounds and assists. He also shows high on the stamina scale, with his 33.4 minutes per game third in the league.
The diminutive Jordan is also one of the most athletic Islanders, having twice won the slam-dunk contest at Islanders Invasion, thanks much to his 48-inch running vertical leap. His 138 assists last season were a new school record.
PRIDE AND JOY
Among the Islanders, there is no personality quite like that of the appropriately-named Joy Williamson. The junior transfer's ebullient and energetic personality is matched only by his intensity and pace on the basketball court.
Williamson has developed into an excellent sixth man for the Islanders, as he leads the team with 47 bench points on the season. The junior college transfer has developed into an impressive defender for the Islanders as well, with his 2.0 steals per game ranking fourth in the Southland.
Against Houston, the guard's offensive ability shined brightly, going 6-for-9 from the field for a career-best 13 points. But he filled the stat sheet in all other aspects of his game as well – Williamson snared seven rebounds, dished out four assists to no turnovers and registered three steals, all in a career-high 33 minutes.
Williamson, who had his first career game in double figures at Denver, has had five-plus points in each of his five games in an Islanders uniform. He has seen his minutes steadily increase, with three straight games over 30 minutes. He has been a consistent shooter overall (.447) from downtown (.400) and from the free-throw line (.667).
Williamson played two seasons at Redlands Community College, where he was coached by current Islanders assistant Yaphett King. The Oklahoma City native scored 18.7 points and grabbed 8.2 rebounds at Redlands after a standout high school career at Putnam City North High School.
TO THE MAXEY
Sophomore Nate Maxey jumps off the page when looking at statistics and measurables. The San Diego native posted the fourth-highest block total (48) in school history in his freshman season, and heading into this season was measured as having a 7-foot-10 wing span.
He etched his name in the record books once again in the Houston contest, setting a new school record for blocks with nine in the contest. In fact, he snapped his own record before the halftime buzzer sounded, swatting eight shots. With 20 blocks in five games, he is easily tops in the conference, and entered the week tied for third in the nation in blocks per game.
Maxey has also upped his offensive game this season, and his performance against Houston showed it. He flushed five dunks for 10 points against the Cougars and improved upon his .750 field-goal percentage (12-for-16 on the year).
Maxey, who averaged 3.5 points and 3.0 rebounds a year ago, has added about 15 pounds to his 6-foot-11 frame and has also matured off the court heading into his sophomore season.