Saturday, Jan. 15 • 1 p.m. CT
American Bank Center (8,100) • Corpus Christi, Texas
RADIO: 1230 AM, 103.3 and 96.1 FM (Steven King)
LIVE VIDEO/STATS: GoIslanders.com
THE OPENING TIP
The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi men's basketball team will look to get on the board in conference play on Saturday, Jan. 15, when it takes on Southeastern Louisiana at the American Bank Center. This will be the lone meeting of the season between the Lions and the Islanders. The home squad comes in 0-2 in Southland play after a 55-47 loss to UTSA on Wednesday night. The Islanders came back from a 17-5 deficit to tie the game at halftime and were within two with 1:43 to play, but Devin Gibson hit his free throws down the stretch to send the Roadrunners to the win. Chris Mast had a career-high 16 points in the loss.
Southeastern had Wednesday night off and will be playing on six days rest when they tip off on Saturday. The Lions knocked off Stephen F. Austin on Jan. 8 in Hammond, 64-54, behind 19 points from Trent Hutchin. Southeastern is one of three league teams that remains unbeaten, joining 2-0 McNeese State and 1-0 Texas State in that group.
• Junior college transfer Chris Mast had a career-high 16 points in just his second career start for the Islanders. The Washington, D.C., native, who has been a key contributor off the bench, went 7-for-11 with three rebounds, three assists and two steals in 34 minutes.
• Head Coach Perry Clark is just one win shy of 300 in his career. The veteran bench boss has a 299-260 career record and was the 1992 National Coach of the Year.
• Senior Justin Reynolds has been heating up as of late. He now has eight games in double figures in the last 11 contests. He has averaged 11.8 points and 7.4 rebounds over that span. Reynolds put up his best game of the season Jan. 2 at Texas Tech. The Pearland, Texas, native scored a season-high 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting and also had a season-best three steals.
• Against Montreat, senior Demond Watt became the eighth player in school history to top 1,000 career points, joining the club just three games after Reynolds did. They are just the second pair of Islanders teammates to hit quadruple figures at the same time, joining Corey Lamkin and Travis Bailey, who did so in 2005.
• Watt has had four games with 20-plus points and 10-plus rebounds this season. His 17 career double-doubles are third in school history, as he delivered his fifth and sixth double-doubles of the year against Montreat and Texas Tech, respectively.
• The Islanders played one of the toughest non-conference slates in the nation this year. Texas A&M - Corpus Christi played six teams that made the 2010 NCAA Tournament and two that made the 2010 NIT in non-conference play.
• Texas A&M - Corpus Christi is now 3-2 this season at home to go along with an 0-7 record the road and a 2-2 neutral-site mark.
SCOUTING THE LIONS
Southeastern Louisiana comes into the contest at 7-6 overall and having won two of its last three games. The Lions most recently knocked off West Division preseason favorite Stephen F. Austin, 64-54, in Hammond last Saturday. The Lions have won two of their last three games, with a loss to Ole Miss sandwiching the win over SFA and one against Mississippi Valley State. The Islanders and Lions have played no common opponents yet this season.
Trent Hutchin leads four players in double digits with his 14.9 points per game, but he is supported by Brandon Fortenberry (10.8), Gary Dixon (10.4) and David Ndoumba (10.4). The Lions are third in the conference in three-point shooting, led by Hutchin's 35 triples.
EASY AS ABC
In seven years at the American Bank Center, the Islanders have enjoyed strong success at the facility. Since the 2004-05 season, when the Center opened, the Islanders are a combined 63-20 in the building, including four seasons with at least nine wins and six with double-digit victories.
This year, the Islanders are 3-2 at home, with one of those losses coming to No. 16 Texas A&M. On the other hand, Texas A&M - Corpus Christi is just 2-2 at neutral sites and 0-7 in true road contests.
The Islanders have played two regular-season games in the Dugan Wellness Center since it opened in 2009, going 2-0 in the building.
With a layup late in the first half against Montreat, Demond Watt became the eighth player in Islanders history to make it to 1,000 career points. He was the second to top the mark this year, joining Justin Reynolds in passing the milestone.
Reynolds entered the elite club for the Islanders against Houston on Dec. 18. The native of Pearland, Texas, topped the 1,000-point barrier with his layup in the opening minute of OT.
Chris Daniels is the school record holder, with 1,407 points from 2004-08. The duo joins Travis Bailey and Corey Lamkin (2005) as the only teammates to have surpassed the marker at the same time. Reynolds now has 1,072 career points for the Islanders, while Watt has 1,046.
COUNTDOWN TO 300
The Islanders players aren't the only ones that are approaching milestones, though. Head Coach Perry Clark, in his 19th year as a collegiate head coach, is just one win shy of breaking the 300-win barrier. The veteran coach is 299-260 in his career to go along with a 49-61 mark in his four years at Texas A&M - Corpus Christi.
Early in the season, junior college transfer Chris Mast was one of the top sparkplugs off the bench for the Islanders. But in his second career start on Wednesday, the transfer from the College of Eastern Utah raised his game to another level.
Mast scored a career-best 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting to go along with three rebounds, three assists and two streals. The native of Washington, D.C., set the tone for his breakthrough contest in the opening minute, when he swiped a UTSA pass and took it all the way for a fast-break dunk to put the Islanders up 2-0. Mast went 4-for-4 in the second half to keep the Islanders in step with the Roadrunners. Twelve of the slashing guard's 16 points came in the paint, with the other four on a three-pointer and a free throw.
Against Houston, he filled in for the injured Garland Judkins with a solid 33 minutes, scoring seven points with two steals, two rebounds and two assists. His biggest points came in the final minutes, as he drained a teardrop in the lane to tie the game at 72 and send the teams to overtime.
He added five points and four assists in just 16 minutes of action against Memphis, including a three that gave the Islanders a 45-43 lead with under 10 minutes to play.
The native of Washington, D.C., who also scored nine points at Oklahoma State, is averaging 19.6 minutes and 4.9 points so far this year. His 15 steals on the season are the most by any Islanders bench player.