TEXAS A&M - CORPUS CHRISTI (4-20, 3-8) AT TEXAS STATE (9-15, 2-9)
Wednesday, Feb. 15 • 7 p.m. CT
Strahan Coliseum (7,200) • San Marcos, Texas
THE OPENING TIP
Texas A&M - Corpus Christi hits the road for a crucial conference contest when it travels to San Marcos in search of a season sweep of Texas State. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at Strahan Coliseum. Steven King will have the call on NewsRadio 1360 KKTX and GoIslanders.com, starting at 6:45 with the Navy/Army Community Credit Union Pregame show.
The Islanders and Bobcats are both in desperate need of a conference victory, as both teams are currently on the outside looking in at the Southland Conference Tournament race with just five league games remaining. Both teams are in a dogfight for the final two spots in the conference tourney, as six teams are within two games at the bottom of the Southland.
Texas State snapped a lengthy losing streak a week ago when it knocked off Central Arkansas, but fell last time out against league-leading UT Arlington, 73-53 on Saturday. The Islanders are mired in a five-game losing streak since beginning a span in which they will play seven of nine games on the road.
• Two Islanders freshmen are mounting an assault on the team's record book this season. Johnathan Jordan (111 assists) is currently ninth on the single-season list and just 21 dimes away from the single-season record. Nate Maxey (45 blocks) is currently fourth on the Islanders' single-season list and is just eight shy of the team record.
• Terence Jones has eight straight double-figure scoring games and has averaged 18.4 points in that time. He is sixth overall in scoring (14.4) and fourth in league games (16.3) in the Southland. He is 10th on the all-time scoring list.
• The Islanders have used at least 10 players in every conference game and in 22 of 24 games this year. A&M – Corpus Christi has also used eight different starting lineups, with 11 different players earning starts. Myron Dempsey is the only player to have started every game for the Islanders on the season.
• A&M – Corpus Christi has posted at least three steals in each of the last eight games, totaling 49 over that span. Myron Dempsey leads the team with nine swipes in that period.
• The Islanders converted all four of their traditional three-point play opportunities against Sam Houston State. The team came into the game having finished off just 15-of-34 on the year.
SCOUTING THE BOBCATS
Texas State has lost seven of its last eight, but snapped a six-game losing streak last week with a win over Central Arkansas. The Bobcats have been a significantly better team at home this year, posting an 8-3 record in Strahan Coliseum, their only three losses being tight affairs against the Southland's top three teams.
Brooks Ybarra leads the team with 12.8 points per game, while Matt Staff has been the primary inside force with 11.5 points and 7.3 rebounds. Islanders killer Eddie Rios has added 10.3 points and has done much of his damage at the line, where he has shot .796.
LAST TIME OUT
Chris Hawkins-Mast scored 17 points and Terence Jones added 16, but Sam Houston State overcame a late 49-48 deficit and finished the game on a 13-4 run to knock off the Texas A&M – Corpus Christi men's basketball team, 61-53, on Saturday at the American Bank Center. Steven Werner had 23 points and 12 boards for the Bearkats (10-15, 4-7 Southland).
Johnathan Jordan matched his career high with nine assists for the Islanders (4-20, 3-8) in a losing effort, while Nate Maxey had five blocks as well. Konner Tucker (14 points) and Darius Gatson (10) finished in double figures for SHSU.
THE ALL-TIME SERIES
Historically, Texas A&M - Corpus Christi has had solid success against Texas State, with an 8-5 edge in the overall mark during the Islanders era. Interestingly enough, A&M - Corpus Christi has fared better on the road (4-2) against the Bobcats than it has at home (4-3).
In the first game this season, the Islanders used a late surge to knock off Texas State, with a late 24-10 run lifting them to the win. Terence Jones had a career-high 33 points and went 9-for-18 from the field in the victory, while Chris Hawkins-Mast had 17 points and 11 boards.
Junior Terence Jones etched his name in the school record book at Savannah State, as his 10 points moved him into 10th place on the Islanders all-time scoring list He now has 809 career points.
Recently, he has been red hot, posting three 20-point games in his last six and posting double figures in eight in a row. Jones netted a career-high 33 points against Texas State on 9-of-18 shooting and 13-of-14 from the line. The 33 points were the most by an Islanders player since Kevin Palmer scored 35 against UT Arlington on March 12, 2009.
He showed it was no fluke in the Stephen F. Austin contest, scoring 20 points on 9-of-18 shooting. He added 21 at Northwestern State, going 5-of-7 from the outside, for his fourth 20-point outing of the season and the fifth of his career. He is averaging 18.4 points over the last eight and is sixth overall in scoring (14.4) and fourth in league games (16.3) in the Southland.
Jones has 134 career threes, putting him fourth in Islanders lore. He is 35 away from the school record.
Two freshmen are attempting to etch their names in the Islanders record book this season. Freshmen Johnathan Jordan (Houston) and Nate Maxey (San Diego) are both on pace to set single-season marks, not just for freshmen, but for all players in Islanders lore.
Jordan has been brilliant at the point this season, as he currently leads the Southland with 4.6 assists per game and is the only freshman in the league that is ranked in the top 10. Among frosh, he ranks ninth nationally with that assist-per-game average, just behind Michigan's Trey Burke and Kentucky's Marquis Teague.
He is also making his way up the Islanders' single-season list, as his 111 assists place him ninth in school history. He is on pace for 138 assists, which would topple the record of 132, set by Brian Evans in the 2002-03 season.
The 5-foot-10 point guard is one of the most athletic players in the conference, as he possesses a 46-inch running vertical leap and won the Islanders' slam-dunk contest at Islanders Invasion this year.
Jordan isn't the only Islander freshman making an assault on the record book. Maxey is well on his way to toppling the school record in blocked shots, as he is currently fourth on the single-season list and is just eight away from matching Chris Daniels' single-season record of 53. The big man is currently on pace for 60 swats this year.
Maxey is currently 48th in the nation with his 2.0 blocks per game, and is sixth among freshmen nationally. Among those ahead of Maxey are National Player of the Year candidate Anthony Davis of Kentucky and Connecticut's Andre Drummond.
While his 6-foot-11 frame is impressive enough, Maxey's ridiculous arm length is what sets him apart. The freshman has a 7-foot-9 wingspan.