LUBBOCK - The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi men's basketball team used runs of 15-0 and 14-0 in the combined with a stellar defensive performance to race past Oregon State Friday night 67-43 in the Duel in the Desert at United Spirit Arena. The Islanders are now 10-1 all-time in season opening games.
The 43 points are the second lowest allowed by the Islanders all-time. The low is 42 versus Texas State on Jan. 18, 2007.
"Oregon State is a fine team," said Islander head coach Perry Clark. "The difference was us being able to hit our free throws in the first half while they struggled. It gave us a positive margin to work with."
Trailing 10-7 eight minutes into the game, the Islanders surged ahead by 12, 22-10, as they went on a 15-0 run. Marcus Hammonds ignited the run with a three-point basket in the left corner. Justin Reynolds' bucket at the 8:45 mark broke a 10-10 tie.
After Filip Toncinic and Hammonds combined to hit 3-of-4 free throws to make it 15-10, Kevin Palmer sandwiched a pair of lay-ins around a three-point bucket by Antonio Topps.
The Beavers pulled back to within seven, 22-15, with five straight points. Omari Johnson snapped the Islander run with a trey. Seth Tarver followed with a steal and bucket.
After a media timeout, the Islanders scored six straight points capped by an alley-oop bucket by Demond Watt.
The Islanders would lead 30-18 at the intermission taking advantage of 2-of-10 foul shooting and 15 turnovers by the Beavers.
"Defensively, we were able to mix things up and show them some things that we hadn't shown in the past," said Clark, whose team limited OSU to 35% shooting. "They are a proficient offense team and we were able to disrupt them with our changing defenses."
TAMUCC didn't let up in the second half scoring the first 14 points of the half to take a 44-19 lead. Kevin Palmer, who had 18 of his game-high 23 points in the second half, had seven points in the decisive run, while Terence Jones had five including a three-point basket to open the half.
Oregon State would get no closer than 22 points the rest of the game.
Aside from Palmer's game-high 23 points, he led the all players with nine boards as A&M-Corpus Christi edged the Beavers 35-34. Jones finished with 11 points in his first game as an Islander, while Demond Watt added 10. Seth Tarver led Oregon State, which had four starters back after winning the College Basketball Invitational a season ago, with 12 points and five steals.
The Islanders will be back in action on Saturday when they face the host Texas Tech Red Raiders at 6p.m. They game can be heard live on ESPN 1230 KSIX in Corpus Christi on www.espn1230.com. Texas Tech opened with an 88-49 win over South Dakota.