Saturday, Jan. 29 • 2 p.m. CT
Johnson Coliseum (7,200) • Nacogdoches, Texas
TV: Southland TV (Corpus Christi channel 21)
RADIO: 1230 AM, 103.3 and 96.1 FM (Steven King)
THE OPENING TIP
The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi men's basketball team faces its second straight road game on Saturday when it takes on Stephen F. Austin in a game that will be televised on Southland TV. The Islanders are searching for their first road victory of the season after a 73-62 defeat at the hands of Texas State on Wednesday, as they now sit at 0-9 on the season in true road games. Demond Watt had his ninth double-double of the year and his fifth 20-10 game as he poured in 20 points and grabbed 12 rebounds against the Bobcats. Four Islanders finished in double figures in a losing effort the last time out.
The Jacks dropped Sam Houston State on Wednesday night in Huntsville, 58-42. SFA improved to 12-5 on the year and 3-2 in Southland play, as it shot just shy of 60 percent from the floor. The Lumberjacks had four players finish in double figures in the game, but uncharacteristically turned the ball over 19 times. Jereal Scott was 7-of-8 from the floor.
• Senior Demond Watt leads the Southland Conference with nine double-doubles on the season, and is just shy of averaging double-digit boards at 9.8 per outing. He is second in the Southland and 27th nationally in that statistic. He has also had 20 points and 10 boards five times this season. He had 20 points and 12 rebounds at Texas State.
• Arizona transfer Garland Judkins battled through foul trouble to post a career-high 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting against Sam Houston State. He added 12 at Texas State on Wednesday. The junior has been working his way back from an ankle injury suffered against Houston that caused him to miss three games.
• Though he's only a freshman, Chicago native Hollis Hill has already proved himself to be one of the team's best clutch players. The guard hit three straight baskets at the end of the game and scored the Islanders' final seven points against SHSU.
• While the Islanders have gone 5-2 at home so far this year, they are still searching for their first road victory. Texas A&M - Corpus Christi is 0-9 on the road to go along with a 2-2 neutral-site mark.
• Watt and fellow senior Justin Reynolds are just the second pair of Islanders teammates to top 1,000 career points at the same time, joining Corey Lamkin and Travis Bailey, who did so in 2005. Watt (1,107) is sixth in school history, while Reynolds (1,105) is seventh in Islanders lore.
• Judkins' performance wasn't the only instance of strong guard play against the Bearkats. The Islanders had a season-low seven turnovers in the game, three of which were on offensive fouls. After Judkins fired an errant pass 54 seconds into the second half, the Islanders did not commit a single turnover.
• The Islanders had one of their best outings of the season at the free-throw line on Saturday, going 13-for-16 from the stripe. Demond Watt led the way with his 6-for-6 performance. However, they struggled against Texas State, going 13-for-23.
SCOUTING THE LUMBERJACKS
Stephen F. Austin enters this weekend with the best overall record in the Southland at 12-5. The Jacks played two common opponents to the Islanders in non-conference action, falling to both Texas Tech and Texas A&M.
Jereal Scott (11.7) and Jordan Glynn (11.5) are the two players who average double figures for SFA. Glynn leads the squad with 8.4 points every time out, while Scott is tops on the team with his .612 field goal percentage. SFA shoots .462 as a team.
Junior transfer Garland Judkins came in with lofty expectations, and after a slow start he has begun to fulfill those. Judkins was just getting into his stride in December when an ankle injury against Houston sidelined him for three games.
But after slowly building up strength, Judkins showed just what he was capable of against Sam Houston State. The Humble, Texas, native went 7-for-12 from the field en route to a career-best 17 points. His best offensive attribute was his ability in transition, as he had two steals and six fast-break points. Ten of his 17 points came on layups. He had a tough game at Texas State with six turnovers, but still managed to score 12 points on 6-of-11 shooting with a career-high four rebounds.
Judkins also had a stellar debut for the Islanders, scoring a team-high 16 points against Northeastern State. Judkins went 5-for-7 from the field, including a three-pointer, and hit all five of his free throws. He added nine points and three assists against Texas A&M.
Though he's just a freshman, Chicago native Hollis Hill may be close to picking up the nickname "Mr. Clutch" for the Islanders. Hill played just 10 minutes against Sam Houston, but his play at the end of the game was crucial to the victory.
With the home squad down two at 65-63, Hill coolly sliced his way into the lane and hit an acrobatic layup to tie the game. After an empty possession for the Bearkats, Hill came through again, this time grabbing the rebound off a Terence Jones miss and hitting a soft jumper from the right elbow to give the Islanders the lead. He topped it off with his third straight basket, hitting a jumper from just inside the top of the key to make it a 69-65 ballgame. He added a free throw at the end to score the Islanders' final seven points of the contest.
This isn't the first time Hill has shown his clutch ability. Against Southeastern Louisiana, he played just 1.9 seconds, but in that time he got an inbounds pass and knocked down both of his free throws with 8.1 seconds to play to ice the Islanders' win.
Even when the games don't count, Hill can be counted on. He drilled a fadeaway jumper just before the final buzzer of Texas A&M - Corpus Christi's win over Incarnate Word in the exhibition season. The freshman is averaging 3.3 points in 8.5 minutes of action this year.