Wednesday, Jan. 10 • Corpus Christi, Texas • 7:00 p.m. CT • American Bank Center (8,100)
Sam Houston State (8-8, 2-1 Southland) at Central Arkansas (4-9, 1-2 Southland)
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HUNTSVILLE – With Southland Conference play under way, the Sam Houston State Bearkats will try to keep its early success going on Wednesday when they travel to Corpus Christi to take on Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at the American Bank Center.
Wednesday’s game can be followed watched online and viewed via live stats on GoIslanders.com. Additionally, fans can get live updates of the game via Twitter by following @BearkatsMBB.
After dropping its SLC opener at Abilene Christian on December 30, Sam Houston has turned the calendar to January with ease, picking up wins in each of its last two games against Central Arkansas and UIW. The Kats had reached the 70-point mark in just one game against Division I competition before entering league play, but have done so in each of their first three outings, including surpassing the 80-point plateau in each of their wins.
The Kats have also erased second-half deficits in each of those wins, connecting on 9-of-19 from 3-point range in second 20 minutes of games against both UCA and UIW. Marcus Harris has averaged 15.5 points per game each of his last two times out, while Josh Delaney has contributed a dozen points per game off the bench.
Coach Jason Hooten’s squad has also been helped by the addition of transfer big man Josh Boutte to the lineup. The transfer was a JuCo all-American at Dodge City CC last year, but missed all of non-conference play with an injury before joining the fold for the SLC opener at ACU. He has seen his minutes increase each time out and put in 10 points and pulled in six boards in 18 minutes of work at UIW, giving the Kats a much-needed presence on the interior.
Even with the recent offensive resurgence, Sam Houston continues to lead the SLC in scoring defense and field-goal percentage and after picking up its first true road win of the year on Saturday, will need that defense once again against the Islanders. TAMUCC just missed out on the NCAA Tournament a year ago before advancing to the title game of the CIT, but this season boasts a roster that includes a dozen underclassmen.
They snapped a 3-game losing skid a week ago at home with a close win over Northwestern State and have seen all four of their wins this year come at home. Senior guard Joseph Kilgore has more than carried the load for Willis Wilson’s group, leading the Islanders in scoring (17.1 ppg), rebounding (4.9 rpg), assists (2.2 apg) and steals (1.7 spg).
SERIES vs TEXAS A&M-CORPUS CHRISTI
Sam Houston is 17-9 all-time in the series with the Islanders, a series that dates back to the 2000-01 season. The Kats snapped a 3-game losing streak to TAMUCC a year ago with a 76-62 win in Huntsville, and on Wednesday will be searching for their first win over the Islanders in Corpus Christi since a 55-51 win in 2013.