DALLAS After a back-and-forth opening 20 minutes, the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi men's basketball team struggled in the second half and ended 2008 with an 92-62 loss to SMU at Moody Coliseum on Wednesday afternoon.
The loss drops the Islanders to 6-7, while SMU moves to 4-7. The Islanders next play Florida State in Tallahassee on Saturday at 3 p.m. Central. The game will be televised on Fox Sports Florida and SunSports.
The game see-sawed in the first half with the lead changing six times and the teams being deadlocked on five occasions, but SMU shot 75% (18-of-24) in the second half to break open the game. The Islanders hit 29% from the floor after the break. The game was also a scoring duel between Kevin Palmer of the Islanders and SMU's Paul McCoy. Palmer had 14 at the intermission and finished with 23 points, but was overshadowed by McCoy, who had 21 at the break and 32 in the game to match the 32 by Oklahoma State's Obi Muonelo.
Palmer began the game with three, three-point baskets to open the contest. The third gave the Islanders a 9-7 lead five minutes into the game.
A&M-Corpus Christi would extend its to lead seven the largest of the half at 16-9 with a 7-2 run. A pair of buckets by Tim Green sandwiched a three-point basket by Shamar Coombs as A&M-Corpus Christi hit its first four treys of the game.
The Mustangs responded with a 10-2 run to take a 19-18 lead at the midpoint of the first half.
A three-point play by Demond Watt gave the lead back to the visitors, 21-19. Four free throws by Palmer and four points by Horace Bond allowed A&M-Corpus Christi to take a 29-24 lead at the 5:30 mark.
TAMUCC was unable to shake hosts as the Mustangs closed the half with a 15-6 run. McCoy spurred the rally with nine points including a three with 21 seconds left in the half. The bucket made it 39-35 at the half.
The Islanders pulled to within 44-43 early in the second on a pair of foul shots by Palmer.
SMU's Mouhammad Faye, who became eligible after the first semester after transferring from Georgia Tech, spurred a 28-10 run to break open the game. Faye had nine points during the run and finished with a career-best 23, while Bamba Fall had seven and McCoy five in spurt. The run made it a 72-53 game with 7:16 left.
Palmer's fourth three-point basket ended the game run and made it a 16-point game, but the Islanders would get no closer.
Demond Watt joined Palmer in double figures with 10 points and had a team-best five rebounds. Tim Green came off the bench with nine points.
Joining McCoy and Faye in double digits was Fall. He had 11 points in the second half and blocked three shots. McCoy had a game-high seven boards as the Mustangs out-rebounded TAMUCC 33-26. SMU also converted 24 Islander turnovers into 24 points, while TAMUCC forced 17 turnovers.
The Islanders were solid from the foul line hitting 18-of-22 foul shots.