November 30, 2011

Texas Tech Visits Coastal Bend for Thursday Night Matchup

TEXAS TECH (3-3) AT TEXAS A&M - CORPUS CHRISTI (1-3)

Thursday, Dec. 1 • 7 p.m. CT
American Bank Center (8,100) • Corpus Christi, Texas

TV: Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast and ESPN3 (Craig Ackerman and Matt Bullard)
RADIO: NewsRadio 1360 AM KKTX (Steven King)
LIVE AUDIO/STATS: GoIslanders.com




THE OPENING TIP
The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi men's basketball team returns home for a Thursday night matchup with Texas Tech at the American Bank Center. The game will be televised by Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast and ESPN3.

The Islanders enter the contest with a record of 1-3 after falling to No. 25 Texas A&M 56-43 on Saturday. Myron Dempsey led the way with 14 points and eight rebounds in the game, while Johnathan Jordan had seven points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals. The Islanders pulled to within six in the final eight minutes of the game, but the Aggies were able to hold on for the win.

Texas Tech enters Thursday's affair at 3-3 overall after having lost all three contests at the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, Fla. The Red Raiders started 3-0 at home, including a win over Southland foe Stephen F. Austin, but were topped by Indiana State, DePaul and Wake Forest in three days in the Sunshine State. Tech is in its first season under former Texas A&M and Kentucky coach Billy Gillispie.

LAST TIME OUT
Myron Dempsey led the way with 14 points and eight rebounds, but the Texas A&M – Corpus Christi men's basketball team saw its second-half rally fall short, as No. 25 Texas A&M defeated the Islanders 56-43 on Saturday. The Islanders pulled as close as six in the closing minutes on a 14-0 run in the loss.

The Islanders forced 18 Texas A&M turnovers and won the battle of the boards, 39-37 in the loss. Dempsey added three steals, while Johnathan Jordan led the team with four assists and had two steals as well. Elston Turner led the Aggies with 14 points, while Ray Turner added 13 and Jordan Green had 10.

SCOUTING THE RED RAIDERS
Texas Tech started out the Billy Gillispie era strong, winning home games over Troy, North Texas and Stephen F. Austin in Lubbock for a 3-0 start. But the trip to the Old Spice Classic has the Red Raiders needing a win tonight to avoid dipping below .500. Texas Tech is shooting at an impressive .490 clip entering tonight, including 40 percent from beyond the arc on the season. Ty Nurse leads the way with his 13.0 points per game, while Jordan Tolbert averages 11.5 and leads the team in rebounds with 5.8 per game. Like the Islanders, TTU is filled with newcomers, as just three players return from last season.

THE ALL-TIME SERIES
This will be the fifth meeting between the Islanders and Red Raiders since Texas A&M - Corpus Christi revived its athletics program for the 1999-2000 season. The Islanders are 1-3 against Tech, with an 0-1 mark in Corpus Christi.

The Red Raiders lone visit to the Coastal Bend was the second game in Islanders history, played on Nov. 24, 1999, and saw the Red Raiders take a 96-83 win. The next year, the Islanders went to Lubbock and stunned Tech with an 86-80 victory on Dec. 18, 2000. In each of the last two seasons, Texas A&M - Corpus Christi played road games in Lubbock and fell to the Red Raiders.

EASY AS ABC
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi has historically been very strong playing its home games at the American Bank Center. Entering their seventh season in the facility, the Islanders have a 66-27 record playing at the ABC, including four seasons with at least nine wins there.

The Islanders have lost six of the last eight games downtown heading into tonight's affair, but the program posted one of its most momentous victories in the facility its last appearance there. The win over Utah State was the first of the Willis Wilson era and gave the Islanders a win over the Aggies, who went 30-4 in 2010-11.

TWO THE HARD WAY
Junior college transfer Myron Dempsey has really emerged for the Islanders over the past two games, both on the offensive end and on the glass. Against Utah State, he delivered his finest performance, tallying a double-double with 16 points and 15 rebounds in leading the Islanders to the upset victory.

But looking closer at the stats, it is amazing to see just how Dempsey has collected his points this year. The St. Petersburg, Fla., native has averaged 12.8 points over the first four games, a total of 51 points. Of those, 44 have come from in the paint, including 22 of his 23 field goals. The junior has been the king of the putback as well, posting 20 second-chance points on the year.

The long, athletic rebounder is currently third in the Southland Conference with his 8.8 rebounds per game. Sixteen of his 35 boards have come in the offensive end, giving him a league-leading 4.0 offensive boards per contest.

JUMPING JOHNATHAN
The Islanders point guard this season may be one of the smallest players in the Southland Conference, but what he lacks in size he more than makes up for in athletic ability. Houston native Johnathan Jordan stands just 5-foot-10, but his extreme athleticism and basketball IQ are the aspects of his makeup that are far more important to the Islanders.

At the end of the Denver game, he was a one-man wrecking crew. The freshman had two steals and eight points during a 10-0 run that drew the Islanders within three points with 26 seconds to play.

He has been impressive leading the Islanders offense with his 13 assists and is among the SLC leaders with 3.3 per game. Against Utah State, he set up Myron Dempsey's tying layup to send the game to OT, then found Hameed Ali on the right wing for the winning three-ball.