ISLANDER RALLY FALLS SHORT IN FINAL GAME AT DUEL IN DESERT
LUBBOCK - Coming off a timeout with 2.5 seconds remaining, Shamar Coombs took a pass on the left the wing and fired a three-point basket that rimmed out as time expired as the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi men's basketball team fell 76-73 to South Dakota Sunday in the Duel in the Desert.
The Islanders (1-2) trailed much of the game rallying from a 10-point deficit with 6:15 remaining to tie the game with less than two minutes to go on a three-point basket by Filip Toncinic. Kevin Palmer then scored his 25th point of the game as USD's Tyler Cain was called for goaltending with 56 seconds left to give A&M-Corpus Christi its only lead of the game at 73-71.
The Islander lead didn't last long as Jake Thomas hit his sixth three-point basket of the game with 39 seconds left for a 74-73 lead. South Dakota was 7-of-42 from three-point range in its first two games and shot no better than 30% in either game. Against TAMUCC, they were 11-of-22 from behind the arc and hit 51.7% of its shots.
A&M-Corpus Christi ran the clock down for one final shot as Antonio Topps attempted an open three from the right wing. A long rebound resulted with the Coyotes' Louie Krogman pulling in the loose ball with six seconds to go. Coombs immediately fouled Roman Gentry who extended South Dakota (1-2) lead to 76-73 with two free throws.
The Islanders pushed the ball to half-court setting up the final shot for Coombs during a timeout.
"South Dakota shot the ball extremely well today and when you give up that many threes you put yourself in harms way," said Islander head coach Perry Clark. "They played fresh and executed really well. We couldn't get on track."
The Coyotes took the lead in the first half with a 11-0 run breaking an 8-8 deadlock after a Terence Jones tied the game with a 15-foot jumper. Kendall Cutler opened the run by converting a three-point play and Jordan Boots knocked down a pair of three point baskets.
Palmer, who finished with a game-high 25 points, heated up scoring 12 of the Islanders next 14 points as TAMUCC went on a 14-3 run to tie the game at 22. The senior guard had a pair of threes in his personal run and a drive to the basket after a steal in which he split a pair of defenders.
After Krogman and Coombs traded threes, USD closed the half with 15-9 run to lead the Islanders 40-34 at the half. The Islanders struggled with foul trouble late in the half as both Jones and Bond were forced to the bench with three fouls.
Trailing by 10 less than two minutes into the second half, A&M-Corpus Christi twice pulled to within three twice. Once on a three-point basket by Coombs and again on a free throw by Horace Bond at the 14:52 mark that made the score 51-48.
South Dakota responded with an 11-1 run to match its largest lead of the game with 10:10 left. Cutler converted a three-point play to start the run and Thomas added a three.
A&M-Corpus Christi would not get closer than seven until making its final run late.
Aside than Palmer, who was 10-of-17 from the floor, no Islander finished in double digits. Watt and Coombs each finished with nine points. Palmer led all players with four steals. A&M-Corpus Christi out-rebounded USD 39-28. Watts had a team-high eight boards as five players had five-or-more boards for the Islanders.
Thomas led the Coyotes with 20 points, while Cain added 16 points and eight rebounds. Cutler had 10 points and a game-best eight assists.
The Islanders will make their home debut on Thursday as Texas-Pan American visits the American Bank Center. The game is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.