STEPHEN F. AUSTIN (10-9, 4-2 SLC) AT TEXAS A&M - CORPUS CHRISTI (4-15, 3-4)
Saturday, Jan. 28 • 7 p.m. CT
American Bank Center (8,100) • Corpus Christi, Texas
RADIO: NewsRadio 1360 AM KKTX (Steven King)
LIVE VIDEO/STATS: GoIslanders.com
THE OPENING TIP
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi returns to the American Bank Center in search of its third straight victory, as Stephen F. Austin comes to town for Homecoming on Saturday at 7 p.m. The game will also feature Suits and Sneakers weekend, as part of the NABC's Coaches vs. Cancer initiative. The game will air live on NewsRadio 1360 KKTX and GoIslanders.com with Steven King on the call.
The Islanders have won consecutive games to vault into seventh place in the Southland Conference with their 3-4 league record. A&M - Corpus Christi knocked off Sam Houston State on the road, 50-49, last week before downing Texas State 74-68 at home on Wednesday night. Terence Jones netted a career-high 33 points in the victory over the Bobcats.
Stephen F. Austin brings a 4-2 conference record into Saturday's affair, with its only two losses to the league's top two teams, UTSA and UT Arlington. The Lumberjacks are the only school in the nation that has not allowed an opponent to score 70 points this year, and are coming off a 67-66 overtime win over Sam Houston State.
• Terence Jones scored a career-high 33 points last game on 9-of-18 shooting and a 13-of-14 outing at the line. It was the most points by an Islander since Kevin Palmer scored 35 against UT Arlington on March 12, 2009.
• Chris Hawkins-Mast delivered his first career double-double against the Bobcats, snaring a career-best 11 rebounds to go along with 17 points.
• The Islanders' "big three" of Jones, Hawkins-Mast and Myron Dempsey combined to go 20-of-39 from the field and 20-of-27 from the free-throw line. They scored 62 of the Islanders' season-high 74 points.
• A&M - Corpus Christi shot a season-best 72.7 percent from the line, going 24-of-33 against Texas State.
• Hameed Ali buried his second game-winning shot of the year, when his jumper swished with 0.3 seconds remaining on Saturday. He also had the winning three against Utah State, and narrowly missed a buzzer-beating winner against South Alabama.
• Comebacks have become commonplace for the Islanders. They rallied from an 11-point deficit against Texas State and a 16-point margin at SHSU.
• Johnathan Jordan is on pace to challenge the school record for assists (132). He leads the league with 4.3 assists per game overall.
SCOUTING THE 'JACKS
Stephen F. Austin brings a 10-9 overall record and a 4-2 league mark into this weekend. The Lumberjacks' deliberate pace has slowed even the best offenses this year, and SFA has allowed just 55.2 points per game on the season. The win over SHSU on Wednesday broke a two-game losing string after the team had opened league play 3-0.
Preseason All-SLC selection Jereal Scott leads the offense with his 13.7 points per game and the big man has also averaged 5.4 rebounds. Antonio Bostic has also chipped in 10.3 points per affair, as Danny Kaspar's crew has eight different players averaging at least four points.
LAST TIME OUT
Terence Jones scored a career-high 33 points to lead Texas A&M – Corpus Christi to a 74-68 win over Texas State Wednesday night at the American Bank Center. The Islanders closed the game on a 24-10 run.
Jones' 33 were the most by an Islanders player since Kevin Palmer netted 35 against UT Arlington on March 12, 2009. The junior went 9-of-18 from the field and 13-of-14 from the free-throw line. Chris Hawkins-Mast added 17 points and a career-best 11 rebounds for his first career double-double, while Myron Dempsey added 12 points and eight boards.
THE ALL-TIME SERIES
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi brings a 3-7 all-time record against Stephen F. Austin into Saturday's game. The Islanders are just 1-3 against SFA in Corpus Christi, the lone win coming in the 2007 Southland Championship season. Since knocking off SFA twice that year, A&M - Corpus Christi is 1-7 against the 'Jacks with the only win a 46-45 win in Nacogdoches last year.
Junior Terence Jones had delivered some big games this year, but against Texas State, he brought his game into another gear. Playing in front of his son (Terence III) for the first time in Corpus Christi, the elder Terence netted a career-high 33 points on 9-of-18 shooting and 13-of-14 from the free-throw line.
The 33 points were the most by an Islanders player since Kevin Palmer scored 35 against UT Arlington on March 12, 2009, in the Southland Conference Tournament. Most impressive was the manner in which he scored his 33, as he did much of his damage on the drive as opposed to from the outside. He went 7-for-11 inside the arc and also used his drive to get to the stripe, where he came up just three FT shy of the school record.Jones now has 117 career threes, putting him fifth in Islanders lore.
Senior Chris Hawkins-Mast had been somewhat quiet for the last several games, though he recently had a string of eight straight games in double-figure scoring. Still, he was lacking a standout contest.
He got just that against Texas State, notching his first career double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds. His runner in the lane gave the Islanders a 69-68 lead they would not relinquish in the closing minutes. He also grabbed a defensive rebound with the Islanders holding a 71-68 lead shortly thereafter.
Perhaps the most positive number was his 7-of-10 performance from the free-throw line, as the Washington, D.C., native has had struggles from the stripe throughout his Islanders career. He is second behind Myron Dempsey with his 128 points in the paint.
THE BIG THREE
In the Islanders' win over Texas State, the top three scorers – Terence Jones, Chris Hawkins-Mast and Myron Dempsey – carried the lion's share of the load on the offensive end. The three combined to go 20-of-39 (the rest of the team was 3-of-18) and scored 62 of the team's 74 points. They also did the bulk of their damage in close, as they combined for 30 of the Islanders' 32 points in the paint.
THE BOTTOM LINE
It is well documented that the Islanders have had their struggles from the free-throw line this season. Entering Wednesday's contest, the team was shooting just 59 percent at the stripe.
Led by Terence Jones' 13-of-14 performance, the Islanders shot a season-best 72.7 percent from the line, outscoring the Bobcats by 10 at the stripe. Just as important were the free throws in the clutch, as Johnathan Jordan knocked down two in the final minute to push the Islanders' lead to 71-68.