Sam Houston State (14-17) vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (17-14)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, March 14, 8:30 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Leonard E. Merrell Center (5,600) -- Katy, Texas. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: SHSU 11-6, TXAMCC 10-7. Away Record: SHSU 3-11, TXAMCC 7-7. Neutral Record: SHSU 0-0, TXAMCC 0-0. Conference Record: SHSU 5-11, TXAMCC 14-4. Series Record: Sam Houston State leads, 13-5.
GAME NOTES: The second-seeded Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders clash with the third-seeded Sam Houston State Bearkats in the semifinals of the Southland Conference Tournament.
The winner will take on either Stephen F. Austin or Northwestern State in the Saturday's championship game
The Islanders are coming into the tournament with a ton of momentum, having wrapped up the regular season with seven straight wins. They struggled earlier in the campaign, but wound up at 17-14 overall, including a 14-4 mark against the rest of the league. Their first and only Southland title came back in 2007.
SHSU overcame Oral Roberts with a 70-61 victory in the quarterfinals. The win was the third straight dating back to the regular season for the Bearkats, who are 22-9 overall as they head into the semifinals.
Although the Bearkats are the lower seed in this contest, they claimed a 78-74 win over TXAMCC in Huntsville on Jan. 30. SHSU also leads the all-time series, 13-5.
Kaheem Ransom netted a team-high 19 points to lead Sam Houston to its quarterfinal-round win over Oral Roberts. The Bearkats sank 53.8 percent of their shots from the floor, including 9-of-13 from 3-point range, with Jabari Peters adding in 19 points of his own.
SHSU is a solid offensive team. It is netting 77 ppg and shooting 46.6 percent from the field, The Bearkats are efficient when it comes to shooting from the perimeter as well, knocking down 39.7 percent of their shots from 3-point range. Peters (13 ppg) is the leading scorer on the roster and a lethal shooter from 3-point range (.411). In fact he shoots a better percentage from distance than he does overall (.390). Ransom (11.9 ppg) is also a strong shooter from the outside, sinking 37.7 percent from beyond the arc.
In the regular-season finale the Islanders were swarming on defense, limiting Nicholls to 36.4 percent shooting en route to a 58-44 victory. TXAMCC coupled its strong defensive showing by netting 64.9 percent from the floor and outscoring Nicholls in the paint, 30-18.
Playing well defensively has been a necessity for the Islanders, who are netting just 69.2 ppg this season. However, the limited offensive production has been more of a symptom of pace, as they also connect on the second-best percentage from the floor (.472) among Southland teams. John Jordan (14.9 ppg) is the most dangerous offensive threat on the roster, although Rashawn Thomas (10.5 ppg) is connecting on 58.8 percent from the floor while playing just over 20 minutes per game. However, the duo only combined for eight points on 3-of-9 from the field in the regular-season finale.
Although SHSU certainly has what it takes to win this game, the extra time off may be a critical factor and help the Islanders advance.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Texas A&M-CC 70, Sam Houston State 65
03/14 10:34:29 ET