Four players scored at least 13 points and the Islanders swiped 17 steals as the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi men's basketball team moved to 3-0 at home with an 87-60 win over Texas A&M International on Monday night on Stripes Court at the American Bank Center.
Kevin Palmer scored 16 points in the first half and finished with a game-high 18, while Justin Reynolds posted the first double-double by an Islander this season tallying 15 points with 12 rebounds. Demond Watt added 14 points and LaMarr Drake 13.
With the win, the Islanders move to 5-4 on the season while International falls to 2-6. A&M-Corpus Christi remains home to host Oklahoma State on Sunday at 3 p.m. at the American Bank Center.
The Islanders did not trail in the game as they broke open a 4-3 contest by going on an 18-0 run to take a 22-3 advantage eight minutes into the game.
Palmer, who also led the team with five assists, opened the run with a three-point basket in the left corner and then converted a layin, before Watt scored four straight points for a 13-3 lead.
After Palmer hit a pair of foul shots, Reynolds put his name in the scoring column with four straight points. Green closed out the run with a three-point play.
The Dustdevils would charge back as they took advantage of eight first half turnovers by the Islanders and went on a 22-9 run to pull within six points at 31-25 with just over five minutes to go in the half. Chris Buttermore slammed home a putback to start the run. Derek Barnes had a pair of threes en route to seven points during the run and finished with a team-best 14 for TAMIU.
The Islanders responded with a 15-4 run to close the half leading 46-29 at the intermission.
Palmer hit a pair of free throws to start the run and, after two foul shots by Green, scored a layup. The junior had 16 of his points in the first 20 minutes. Drake added four more points off the fastbreak.
In the second half, TAMIU pulled to within 15 early on a three-point basket by Tucker, but would get no closer.
"Our defense really stepped it up tonight," said Islander head coach Perry Clark. "In a game like this you need your defense to create your offense and that's what we did. There was a point where we thought we could use our offense to win the game and quit playing defense and that allowed them to get back in the game, but then we really locked down on defense again and pulled away."
The Islanders hit over 53.6 % of their shots in the second half and finished the game at 49.2%. A&M-Corpus Christi was also stellar at the line throughout the game hitting 89.3% of their attempts going 25-of-28 led by Palmer who was 8-of-8, while Reynolds was 7-of-8.
Defensively, TAMUCC limited the visitors to 30.5% shooting in the game, while out-rebounding the Dustdevils 46 to 28. The Islanders, who also turned the ball over 21 times, forced 21 turnovers including the 17 steals. Palmer, who tied a school record with six on Saturday and is ranked 32nd in the nation, led the way with four. Drake and Green each added three as nine Islanders had a steal.