SOUTH PADRE ISLAND The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi men's basketball team made it two wins in a row on Saturday as the Islanders surged past UNC-Wilmington to even their record at 3-3 with a 97-64 over UNC-Wilmington in the South Padre Invitational at the South Padre Island Convention Center.
The 97 points are the most by the Islanders in 35 games under current head coach Perry Clark and the most since defeating Texas State 99-89 on Feb. 15, 2006. The 33-point margin of victory was the largest since a 48-point win over the same Bobcats earlier that season.
Four Islanders scored at least 14 points led by Kevin Palmer. After scoring 20 against Jackson State on Friday, Palmer scored a career-high 22 against UNCW on Saturday and was named to the all-tournament team. Demond Watt added a career-high 15, while Tim Green also had 15. Jawan Nelson came off the bench to match his career-best with 14. TAMUCC outscored UNCW 50-20 in the paint.
After a see-saw first half, the Islanders took a 39-38 lead into the locker room as Watt scored on a put back to end the half, A&M-Corpus Christi went crazy on offense in second half. The Islanders shot 59.4% from the floor in the second half outscoring the Seahawks 58-26.
Palmer began the second half with four straight points as the Islanders led 43-38 less than 60 seconds into the period. Following a bucket by UNCW's Chad Tomko, Palmer hit a three-point basket for a 6-point Islander lead. Watt added back-to-back buckets including a 15-ft jumper for a 50-40 lead.
The Seahawks pulled to within eight on a bucket by Dominique Lacy, but the Islanders rattled off 15 consecutive points to lead by 21. Green led the charge with three, three-point baskets and a drive to the hoop. Nelson scored on a spin move on the block.
The Islander defense limited the Seahawks to 30-percent shooting in the second half, while forcing 19 turnovers in the final 20 minutes. UNCW finished with 27 turnovers which is the second most by an Islander opponent this season and had a team-high 16 steals. Palmer and LaMarr Drake each had a career-best five steals. A&M-Corpus Christi held its foe to 10 points in the first 12 minutes of the final period and scored 34 points off the turnovers.
TAMUCC also dominated on the glass out-rebounding 40-28. Palmer led the way with a team-best seven rebounds and had five steals. Watt added six boards and Nelson five.
Lacy led the Hawks with 16 points and rebounds. Tomko, who came in averaging over 21 points a game, tallied 15. Daryl Felder added 12 points. Johnny Wolf, who entered averaging over 19 points a game, finished with zero.
The Islanders return to action when it hosts St. Edward's at 7 p.m. at the American Bank Center on Stripes Court on Wednesday. It will be a $1.25 Night sponsored by the Caller-Times in recognition of their 125th Anniversary.