ISLANDERS (3-6) AT OKLAHOMA (6-1)
THURSDAY, DEC. 5 • 2 P.M.
NORMAN, OKLA. • LLOYD NOBLE CENTER (12,000)
RADIO: NEWSRADIO 1360 KKTX (YANNIS KOUTROUPIS)
TV: SOONER SPORTS TV - FS OKLAHOMA/FSN
THE OPENING TIP
Coming off a 78-67 defeat to Houston, the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi men's basketball team is bound for Norman, Okla., where it will take on Big 12 foe Oklahoma on Thursday at 2 p.m. The game was originally scheduled for 7 p.m. but moved up due to pending inclement weather. The game will be televised on Sooner Sports TV on Fox Sports Oklahoma.
• After missing the Central Michigan game due to injury, Houston native John Jordan came back with a fury against the Cougars, scoring 19 points to go with six assists and five rebounds.
• Freshman forward Jeff Beverly scored a career-best 20 points against Houston as well. The big man has scored in double figures six times and is averaging 11.0 points per game.
• Senior Joy Williamson busted out of a slump at Houston on Saturday, scoring a career-best 18 points on 5-of-6 shooting, knocking down both his three-pointers in the contest.
• Senior Zane Knowles had a career-high 16 points and added 13 rebounds against Central Michigan for his third double-double of the year.
• The Islanders took part in a 10-day, four-game tour of Italy in August, a trip that allowed them 10 extra days of practice prior to the tour.
• Though Coach Wilson has his most experienced team with the Islanders, only five players have more than one year of Division I playing experience (Ali, Knowles, Jordan, Douvier, King).
THE ALL-TIME SERIES
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi has just one contest in its Islanders history against Oklahoma, with that a defeat at the hands of the Sooners a year ago on New Year's Eve. Joy Williamson had a strong return to his home state, scoring 14 points and snaring five rebounds in a losing effort, as A&M-Corpus Christi shot just 29.3 percent from the field. Steven Pledger knocked down five threes for 17 points in the win for OU.
LAST TIME OUT
Houston went 17-for-30 from the field (.567) in the second half to vault past the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi men's basketball team in a 78-67 victory on Saturday at Hofheinz Pavilion. Jeff Beverly (20) and Joy Williamson (18) each had career highs in points for the Islanders in a losing effort. John Jordan added 19 points, six assists and five rebounds in his return to his hometown. Houston (6-2) placed five players in double figures, led by TaShawn Thomas' 14.
THE GREAT DISTRIBUTOR
John Jordan is only a junior for the Islanders basketball team, but he's the most experienced player on the roster and one of the favorites for Southland Conference Player of the Year. The Houston native was named Preseason First Team All-Southland Conference by the league's coaches.
He showed his worthiness for that selection in the opening game of the Holiday Inn Downtown Marina Islanders Basketball Tournament. Jordan went off for a career-high 28 points, going 10-for-16 from the field. His final basket gave the Islanders a one-point lead with 4.2 seconds remaining en route to a 72-71 win. He added 18 points and nine boards against Tennessee Tech, then wrapped the weekend with just seven points, but dished out seven assists and snared six rebounds.
He suffered an ankle injury earlier this year that forced him to miss the Central Michigan game. But he bounced back in a big way at Houston with 19 points, six assists and five rebounds. He played all 40 minutes against the Cougars.
The honor is no surprise when looking at the numbers that the 5-foot-10 Jordan put up last season. Jordan was second in the league in assists (5.5 per game) and 12th in the league with 12.8 points per game. His 5.5 assists per game were 39th in Division I.
Jordan broke the school record with 138 assists as a freshman, then bested his own mark with 159 as a sophomore. With 333 career assists, he over halfway to the school record of 493, held by Brian Evans.
Freshman Jeff Beverly joined the Islanders as a highly-touted prospect out of the Houston area known for his scoring ability. Though he had a slow start to his career with a pedestrian seven points and four rebounds against Huston-Tillotson, he made his presence known in the game against Iowa State.
Beverly went 5-for-11 from the field with eight rebounds – four offensive - one block, one steal and one assist, all with just one turnover in a career-high 31 minutes. But what was more of a shock to the Cyclones was likely Beverly's range. The 6-foot-6, 245 pounder stepped back and drilled 3-of-5 shots from beyond the arc.
He showed more of the same for his home fans at the Holiday Inn Downtown Marina Tournament. He set a new career high before halftime against Tennessee Tech, going 5-for-6 with 15 points in the opening stanza, finishing with 18.
He has had issues with foul trouble, and was limited to just 10 minutes at UTSA to go scoreless. But he bounced back with 10 against CMU, then exploded for a career-high 20 in his return to his hometown of Houston on Saturday. He went 7-for-12 from the field and upped his season free-throw percentage to .794.
Beverly averaged 22.3 points and 11 boards at Clear Springs High School, and was named first team all-state.
Redshirt sophomore Jake Kocher was recently named a nominee for the 2014 Allstate National Association of Basketball Coaches Good Works Team. The award recognizes a select group of college basketball student-athletes who have made significant contributions to the greater good of their communities through volunteerism and civic service. A total of 118 players were nominated for the award, including 75 student-athletes from NCAA Division I.
Kocher has been extremely active in the community, both in Corpus Christi and his hometown of Austin. He has worked mainly with youngsters, volunteering with such organizations as the Boys & Girls Club, Boy Scouts, Ronald McDonald House and the Miracle League, and has spoken at several elementary and middle schools, serving as a role model for the youth of Corpus Christi.
PRIDE AND JOY
After being one of just five upperclassmen on the roster a year ago, Joy Williamson enters his second year as an Islander as one of just two seniors on the squad in 2013-14. The Oklahoma City native finished third on the Islanders in scoring a year ago, netting 8.3 points per game. He sat out the season opener, but returned to the floor at ISU with a mixed bag at ISU, scoring three points and pulling in four rebounds.
Though he was overshadowed by Jordan's stellar play, Williamson had an outstanding game against IPFW. The senior went 5-for-9 from the floor, scored 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds, four on the offensive end. He struggled to score the remainder of the weekend, but had a strong all-around game against Texas-Pan American, dishing out five assists and nabbing five rebounds.Still, his scoring had slackened, to the point where he didn't even record an official shot against Central Michigan.
Then, at Houston, he got off the schneid with a shot that was called for a goaltend, awarding him a bucket. Later in the first half, he knocked down a three pointer that banked off the glass and in. These two shots seemed to boost the senior's confidence, though, as he continued his strong play into the second half. He finished with a career-high 18 points on 5-of-6 shooting to go along with a 6-of-7 performance at the free-throw line.
The native of Oklahoma City played two years at Redlands Community College under current Islanders assistant coach Yaphett King.
The Islanders' bench came up big against UTSA, scoring 38 points - half of the team's total in the game. That was in stark contrast to the previous four games, where the bench totaled just 44 points. The bench scored 16 against Central Michigan.
At Houston, the Islanders reserved totaled 24 points, but 18 of those came from Joy Williamson. In fact, aside from Jeff Beverly (20), John Jordan (19) and Williamson, no other Islander had more than two points. The three accounted for 85.1 percent of the scoring in the contest for the Islanders.
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi has been surprisingly efficient in converting three-point plays this year. The Islanders are 11-for-13 (.846) at the line after being awarded a basket and a foul, far better than their overall mark at the stripe (.690). Both John Jordan (5-for-5) and Joy Williamson (4-for-4) have seen multiple instances of perfection when finishing a three-point play. Only Hameed Ali (0-for-2) has failed to convert when given that opportunity this season.