Saturday, Dec. 18 • 7 p.m. CT
American Bank Center (8,100) • Corpus Christi, Texas
RADIO: 1230 AM, 103.3 and 96.1 FM (Steven King)
LIVE VIDEO: GoIslanders.com
THE OPENING TIP
The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi men's basketball team ends an 11-day hiatus with Saturday night's contest against Houston. The Islanders took all of last week off for final exams and have not played since Tuesday, Dec. 7, against Marquette. This will be the fourth home game of the season for Texas A&M - Corpus Christi, with wins over Northeastern State and St. Edward's and a loss to Texas A&M in the ledger this season at the American Bank Center.
The Islanders come into tonight's affair at 3-6 following a loss to BIG EAST power Marquette last Tuesday, 86-50. The Golden Eagles got off to a fast start and never looked back, as Texas A&M - Corpus Christi played its fifth road game this season against a foe that participated in the 2010 NCAA Tournament. The Islanders have played the seventh-toughest schedule in the nation. Houston sits at 6-4 following a 68-63 loss to UTSA one week ago. The Islanders will be the fourth Southland opponent for the Cougars, who are 2-1 with wins over Nicholls and Sam Houston State this year.
- Senior Demond Watt has had four games with 20-plus points and 10-plus rebounds this season. His 15 career double-doubles are third in school history.
- Watt currently leads the Southland Conference in rebounding (10.2), is fifth in blocks (1.2), fourth in field goal percentage (61.4) and sixth in scoring (16.6).
- Senior Justin Reynolds had a string of three straight games in double digits snapped against Marquette, as he finished with nine points. Reynolds, who poured in 10-plus points just once in the first five games, is averaging 11.8 points and 9.0 boards the last four games.
- Reynolds is just 11 points shy of entering the 1,000-point club, while Watt is only 45 points away from the career milestone.
- The Islanders have played the seventh-toughest schedule in the country according to college basketball stats guru Ken Pomeroy (kenpom.com). Texas A&M - Corpus Christi has played five teams that made the 2010 NCAA Tournament in out-of-conference play.
- The Islanders are 0-4 all-time against the Cougars, including one loss at home, 82-74, on Feb. 7, 2006. Three of the four games between the two schools have been decided by fewer that 10 points, including a double-OT 86-83 loss on Jan. 7, 2006.
SCOUTING THE COUGARS
Houston sits at 6-4 on the season after losing 68-63 on Saturday, Dec. 11, in Houston. The Cougars have a 5-1 mark at home, but just a 1-3 mark away from Houston, the lone win a 78-73, overtime victory over Sam Houston State on Dec. 4. UH has played tight contests with the Southland this year, with overtime wins over SHSU and Nicholls (63-62 on Nov. 12) and the loss to UTSA last week.
The Cougars are led offensively by Adam Brown and his 13.5 points every time out. Brown is also second on the team in both assists and steals, trailing Zamal Nixon in both those categories. Brown has shot the lights out from distance, knocking down 51.2 percent of his triples on the year. Maurice McNeil is averaging 12.2 points and 9.4 boards this year, while Kendrick Washington has added 12.0 points every time out.
Senior Demond Watt was one of the top power forwards in the Southland Conference last year, but so far this season he has put up some eye-popping numbers, even for him.
Watt scored 20 points and grabbed 10 boards against St. Edward's, his fourth such game in eight contests this season. In fact, he has put up a 20-10 outing every other game on the year. In his career, he has 15 double-doubles to his credit, the third-highest total in school history.
Watt was named to the iBN Las Vegas Invitational All-Tournament Team for his efforts in the City of Lights. He posted his third double-double of the season against Bethune-Cookman, and in fact had done so before halftime. The Chicago native finished with 23 points and 15 boards, each the second-highest mark of the year for the big man.
On Nov. 21 against Ohio, Watt posted one of the top performances in the Southland this year, pouring in a career-high 26 points to go along with 12 rebounds and a career-high tying five assists. Against Texas A&M on Nov. 15, Watt showed up in a big way, with 21 points and a career-high 16 rebounds. It marked the most rebounds by an Islander player since Corey Lamkin had 18 at Air Force on Jan. 21, 2004.
CLOSING IN ON 1,000
Senior Justin Reynolds is on the verge of entering an elite club for the Islanders. The native of Pearland, Texas, has scored 989 points in his career, the seventh-most in school history. He is just 11 points away from becoming the seventh player to don the Islanders uniform to make it to the 1,000-point mark. Chris Daniels is the school record holder, with 1,407 points from 2004-08.
Reynolds has heated up recently after a slow start, posting three straight games in double figures prior to the Marquette game, and four games with 10-plus points in his last six. Against Bethune-Cookman, he notched his first double-double of the season with 10 points and 13 boards.
Teammate Demond Watt is also on pace to top the 1,000-point plateau this season, with 955 in his time on the team. Watt also posted his 100th career block against the Aggies, second in school history, and now has 108 in his tenure. He is third in Islanders lore with his 668 rebounds over three-plus seasons, and needs just 13 more to tie Daniels for second in Islanders lore.
In addition to the difficulty of playing six of their first nine games on the road in three different time zones, the Islanders also have taken on one of the toughest schedules in the nation. According to college basketball stats guru Ken Pomeroy, Texas A&M - Corpus Christi has played the seventh toughest schedule in the nation.
The Islanders have faced off with four teams in the top 48, including No. 1 Kansas, No. 31 Texas A&M, No. 35 Marquette and No. 48 Oklahoma State. The road gets no easier over the next couple weeks, with road games against No. 38 Memphis and No. 103 Texas Tech coming up before the start of conference play.