GAME NOTES: Shooting for back-to-back wins for the first time this season, the Islanders of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi clash with the 16th-ranked Memphis Tigers in the first-ever meeting between the two programs tonight at FedExForum in Tennessee.
On Saturday night, the Islanders won for the second time in the last three outings and just the fourth time in 2010-11 as they recorded an 81-78 overtime victory versus in-state rival Houston at home. The 81-point scoring outburst by the Islanders matched a season-high established in the opener against Northeastern State.
As for the Tigers, they took part in their second overtime game in the last four outings on Thursday night and secured a tightly-contested 70-68 triumph versus upstart Austin Peay. The victory came nine days after the team's first loss of the season against nationally-ranked Kansas, 81-68.
Chris Mast knocked down a jumper with 1:30 remaining in regulation two nights ago to send the game with Houston into overtime for the Islanders, with Demon Watt and Terence Jones making three free-throws in the final minute of the extra session to give the hosts the victory over the Cougars. Watt finished with a team-best 17 points and cleared nine rebounds, followed by Jones who tallied 16 points and pulled six rebounds of his own in an effort to offset eight turnovers. Justin Reynolds and Horace Bond tacked on 14 points apiece, the former providing eight rebounds as well. Watt has been a solid scorer for the Islanders all season, generating a team-best 16.6 ppg as he shoots a healthy 61.0 percent from the floor. However, like many big men he could use serious guidance at the free-throw line where he is just 63.8 percent accurate. Jones checks in with 10.3 ppg, but while he and Watt lead the group with 19 assists apiece, they've combined for more than 60 turnovers and the team is now struggling with close to 18 miscues per outing.
Antonio Barton's jumper with 14 seconds remaining in regulation knotted the score at 56-56 against Austin Peay and sent the meeting into overtime where the Tigers survived the two-point decision as a couple of free throws saved the day for the hosts. Charles Carmouche was the lone starter to score in double figures for the Tigers as he tallied 16 points, adding seven rebounds and seven assists, while Chris Crawford was responsible for a team-high 18 points on 5-of-8 shooting behind the three-point line. Crawford, a 41.7 percent shooter beyond the arc through the first nine games of the season, is trying desperately to carry the Tigers out on the perimeter where the squad is making good on just 34.4 percent beyond the arc. Wesley Witherspoon, who averaged a solid 12.5 ppg a ear ago, is in for a team-best 13.0 ppg at the moment as he shoots an impressive 53.1 percent from the floor and 83.3 percent at the free-throw line where he has done the most damage.
Both of these teams had to work a little harder the last time out to get into the win column, but the Tigers have the benefit of having had more time to recuperate and they are playing at home tonight.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Memphis 72, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 61
12/20 14:22:09 ET
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