Five Texas A&M-Corpus Christi men's basketball players scored 14-or-more points on Wednesday night at the American Bank Center as the Islanders rebounded from their first Southland Conference loss of the season holding off UT Arlington for an 82-75 win.
With the win, the Islanders (12-10) move to 6-1 in the league and are tied with Sam Houston for the best record in the Southland. UTA drops to 10-10 on the season with a 3-4 league mark.
"I think a lot of people wanted to see how we would respond after losing to Sam Houston on Saturday," said Islander head coach Perry Clark. "I think that the kids felt they had something to prove against a team picked to win the conference. I was really pleased with our overall performance."
Leading by one at the break, A&M-Corpus Christi opened the second with a 10-2 run capped by a three-point basket for Horace Bond just over three minutes into the second half. Back-to-back jumpers by Filip Toncinic and Shamar Coombs moments later gave the hosts a 13-point lead five minutes into the half.
The Islanders would continue to build their lead to as many as 22 points, 62-40, with 10:20 remaining as they hit 56.5% of their shots in the final 20 minutes after hitting 37% in the opening half. Two three-point baskets by Tim Green and one by Toncinic were key to the start and an old-fashioned three-point play by Demond Watt helped separate the hosts even further from the Mavs.
UTA responded with a 15-0 spurt to pull within seven, 62-55 with 5:49 remaining. Marquez Haynes led the charge with five points, while Anthony Vereen and Jeremy Smith each had four during the run. TAMUCC had six turnovers during the run
The Islanders, who struggled from the foul line early hitting just 8-of-14 in the first half, held off the rally by hitting 16-of-22 foul shots in the final 4:36 with two field goals by Kevin Palmer. Palmer, who had nine of his team-best 15 points in the last five minutes of the game, also went 5-of-6 from the line in the final 63 seconds. Reynolds was 4-of-4 down the stretch at the line and Tim Green 3-of-4.
Palmer was joined in double figures by Reynolds, who had 16 points. Green and Bond each netted 14. Bond's total was a career-high. Palmer led the Islanders in rebounding with seven, while Bond added six despite UTA edging the hosts 37-36 on the boards.
Vereen led the Mavs with 19 points on 9-of-12 shooting from the floor and 11-of-13 shooting from the stripe. The forward led UTA with six rebounds. Roge'r Guignard came off the bench to score 14, while Haynes dropped in 11.
The Islander head to Louisiana next as they square off with Nicholls on Saturday at 3 p.m.