November 23, 2008

ISLANDERS DROP 66-43 DECISION ON ROAD TO TULSA

TULSA, Okla. – The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi men's basketball team suffered its third straight loss on the road as the Islanders were held to the second lowest point in school history falling 66-43 on Sunday afternoon to Tulsa at the Reynolds Center.

The loss drops the Islanders to 1-3 on the season, while the Golden Hurricane move to 2-1.

"I don't if it was a combination that we ran out of gas or if they just were more physical than us," said Islander head coach Perry Clark. "They were able to take us out of the things we wanted to do because they were so physical. They really wore us down."

The 43 points are the second fewest by the Islanders and fewest since the team scored 31 at Air Force during the 2003-04 season. Two other marks were tied or fell. Tulsa didn't allow the Islanders to convert a three-point basket in 11 attempts marking just the third time in school history the team did not connect from behind the arc. Led by Jerome Jordan and Steven Idlet, who had six and five blocks respectively, Tulsa set a record for an Islander opponent blocking 14 shots. The previous mark was 12 by Murray State.

After falling behind by seven twice in the first half, the Islanders roared back with a 12-2 burst over a six-minute span. Justin Reynolds began the run with a put-back for the Islanders followed by a Kevin Palmer tip.

Demond Watt made it a one-point contest, 11-10, with a jumper just over four minutes into the game for six consecutive A&M-Corpus Christi points.

After a drive to the basket by Ray Reese, the Islanders again rattled off six straight. LaMarr Drake hit a pair of free throws in place of Kevin Perkins, who was sidelined briefly after fouled going to the basket on the fast break. Jawan Nelson gave A&M-Corpus Christi its first lead with a spin move on the block, while Marcus Hammonds extended the team's lead to 16-13.

The dry spells that have plagued the Islanders in their previous two losses resurfaced. Over the next five-and-a-half minutes, A&M-Corpus Christi managed only a Reynolds free throw as the Golden Hurricane took a 24-17 lead on a hook by Jordan. Ben Uzoh had four points during the run.

Drake scored four straight points as the Islanders answered with a 7-2 run to pull within a basket at 26-24 with 3:30 left. After hitting a jumper, Drake scored on a lay in when Horace Bond stole the inbound pass. Watt, who along with Reynolds tallied a team-best seven points, capped the run with a bucket and 1-of-2 free throws.

A&M-Corpus Christi, which hit just 34.4% of its shots in the first 20 minutes, was out-scored 14-2 the rest of the half including five points by Uzoh. Uzoh, who averaged 20 points in each of the first two games, finished the opening half with nine for top honors in the half.

Tulsa would lead 40-26 at the intermission.

In the second half, TAMUCC managed just 17 points as they shot 28.6 from the floor. The Islanders hit just six of 21 attempts in the second half while turning the ball over 13 times. They were unable to get closer than the 14-point deficit they faced at the start of the half and finished the game having hit 32.1% (17-of-53).

Reynolds, who returned to the starting lineup after not starting for the first time in his career at Northwestern, scored a season high 13 points. Drake shared team honors with 13 points, while no other Islander scored more than Watt's seven. Palmer the Islander leading scorer was held to four points as he was saddled with foul trouble much of the game. Filip Toncinic came off the bench to grab seven rebounds leading the way.

Uzoh led all scorers with 17 points, while Reese added 12 to go with four steals. Jordan scored eight points with a game-high nine rebounds as Tulsa won the rebounding war 42-34. Tulsa converted 21 Islander turnovers into 21 points.

The Islanders return to Texas for the final two games in the South Padre Island Invitational later this week. They face Jackson State at 2 p.m. Friday and either North Carolina Central or UNC-Wilmington on Saturday at 11:30 or 2 p.m. The games will be played at the South Padre Convention Center. Call 361-825-Ball or visit ez-tixx.com.