UT ARLINGTON (11-5, 4-0 SOUTHLAND) AT TEXAS A&M - CORPUS CHRISTI (2-14, 1-3)
Wednesday, Jan. 18 • 7 p.m. CT
Dugan Wellness Center (1,500) • Corpus Christi, Texas
RADIO: NewsRadio 1360 AM KKTX (Steven King)
LIVE STATS/VIDEO: GoIslanders.com
THE OPENING TIP
The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi men's basketball team is back in the Coastal Bend for a Wednesday night contest against UT Arlington at the Dugan Wellness Center. It is the only game that the Islanders will play at the on-campus facility this season, and the team will look to keep its perfect all-time record (3-0) at the Dugan in tact.
The Islanders are coming off a 67-55 setback at the hands of Southeastern Louisiana on Saturday night. Myron Dempsey led the way with 12 points and Chris Hawkins-Mast added 11, but the Islanders suffered a poor shooting night and Southeastern posted one of its best offensive contests of the year to emerge victorious.
The Mavericks sit atop the Southland Conference with their 4-0 conference record, and will bring a seven-game winning streak into the Coastal Bend on Wednesday. UTA knocked off Lamar, 91-82, on Saturday night for their fourth conference victory of the season. The Mavs won their first three league games (over Southeastern, Nicholls and Sam Houston State) by an average of 31.7 points and have not lost since falling on the road at Utah State on Dec. 20.
• Myron Dempsey has grabbed at least 10 rebounds in five of the last seven games, averaging 9.1 boards over that span.
• The Islanders are shooting .422 from the field in conference play, including .493 (72-of-146) from inside the arc. The Islanders shot just .368 in non-conference action.
• Chris Hawkins-Mast has seven straight double-digit scoring games. He is averaging 13.1 points over the last nine, including a career-high 22 at West Virginia.
• Johnathan Jordan had a career-high nine assists to just one turnover against McNeese State and six assists to no turnovers against Southeastern. He leads the league with 4.1 assists per game overall.
• The Islanders have used seven different starting lineups, with 10 different players represented.
• True walk-on Kennon Dvorak has made three straight starts for the Islanders at guard. He had played seven career minutes prior to that.
• Nate Maxey matched a school record with seven blocks against McNeese State on Jan. 7. Maxey has already set a new mark for blocks by a freshman with 31 on the year.
• The Islanders shot .571 (16-for-28) from the floor in the first half at UTSA, their best shooting half of the season. That eclipsed the first half against Denver, where they went 11-of-21 (.524).
SCOUTING THE MAVERICKS
UT Arlington is the prohibitive favorite in the Southland Conference at this current juncture, by virtue of its 4-0 conference mark and a win at East Division favorite Lamar on Saturday night. The Mavericks played tough non-conference competition, with games at Texas, Baylor, Tulsa and Utah State among their five losses.
LaMarcus Reed III was named Southland Player of the Week on Monday after averaging 21.5 points in two victories last week. He leads the team with his 15.2 points, but Bo Ingram (11.6) and Kevin Butler (11.3) are right behind him in the scoring column. Jordan Reves leads the squad with his 6.7 rebounds per contest, but the Mavericks have five different players averaging at least four rebounds.
LAST TIME OUT
Southeastern Louisiana used a 22-7 second-half run to pull away in a 67-55 victory over the Islanders on Saturday night at the University Center. The Lions placed four players in double figures in the win, led by DeShawn Patterson's 14, as head coach Jim Yarbrough collected his 200th career victory.Myron Dempsey led the way for the Islanders with 12 points, while Chris Hawkins-Mast scored 11, his seventh straight game in double figures.
THE ALL-TIME SERIES
The Islanders hold a 7-4 edge over the Mavericks in the series between the two schools. In Corpus Christi, the Islanders have a 4-1 advantage, while the Mavericks have a 3-2 edge in Arlington. The Islanders also knocked off UTA in the opening round of the 2009 Southland Tournament, 79-72.
Last season the two teams split the season series, with each squad taking its home game. The Islanders knocked off UTA 95-83 in the American Bank Center on March 2. Justin Reynolds had 26 points and 10 boards on Senior Night, while Terence Jones had 10 points and 10 assists, as the Islanders shot 31-for-54 (.574) from the field.
TWO THE HARD WAY
Junior college transfer Myron Dempsey has been an impact player on both ends. 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.
The long, athletic rebounder is currently second in the Southland Conference with his 8.1 rebounds per game after averaging 9.1 per game over his last seven outings, five of which have seen him hit double digits. Fifty-six of his 130 boards have come on the offensive end, a league-best 3.5 per contest.
He is second on the team both in blocks (14) and steals (20) after swatting three shots and garnering a pair of swipes at UTSA. He has also improved from the field over the last couple of games, going 9-for-19 (.474) this past week after shooting just 5-for-19 over the prior two.
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 scored a total of 144 points. Of those, 116 have come from in the paint, including 58 of his 61 field goals. The junior also has a team-leading 49 second-chance points.
The Islanders have seen a solid improvement in their offense as of late. The Islanders are shooting .422 (89-for-211) from the field in conference play, including .493 (72-of-146) from inside the three-point line. The Islanders shot just .368 in non-conference action.
The UTSA game was the ultimate example, as the Islanders had a season-high .571 shooting percentage in the first half (16-of-28) and went on to hit 46.8 percent on the game. Still, the Islanders struggled from beyond the arc, going just 6-of-21. That means that A&M - Corpus Christi shot 16-of-26 (.615) from inside the arc in San Antonio.
After being a role player in his first season for the Islanders, senior Chris Hawkins-Mast has emerged as one of the team's go-to guys on the offensive end. Hawkins-Mast is second on the team with his 11.9 points and 5.4 rebounds per contest.
On Dec. 17 against WVU, he delivered a career-best 22 points on 6-of-12 shooting and an 8-of-10 performance at the line.
He went just 15-for-50 (30 percent) from the field over the next four games before going 5-for-11 to lead the team with 15 points against Lamar on Jan. 4. He followed that up with 13 against McNeese State last Saturday, and then posted with 10 points at UTSA, all of which came in the paint. He is second on the team, behind Myron Dempsey, with 108 points in the paint.
Hawkins-Mast now has seven straight games scoring in double digits, and is averaging 13.1 points per game over his last nine. He is leads the team by posting 12 games with 10-plus points.
The native of Washington, D.C., went by the name "Chris Mast" a year ago, but chose to use his full legal name to honor his mother, whose maiden name is Hawkins.
Tonight marks the Islanders' lone game of the season at the Dugan Wellness Center. Since the facility opened in 2009, A&M - Corpus Christi is 3-0 on-campus all-time, including a 70-68 win over Sam Houston State last year and an 80-66 win over UTSA on Jan. 24, 2009.