November 22, 2009

ISLANDERS HOLD OFF HILLTOPPERS FOR WIN IN DUGAN WELLNESS CENTER

The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi men's basketball team led by as many as 18 in the first half on Saturday night at the Dugan Wellness Center, but had to fight off a second-half charge by St. Edwards for a 75-66 win.

With their second-straight win, the Islanders move to 3-2 on the season heading into Wednesday night's game with Texas A&M-International. The game tips at 7 p.m. at the American Bank Center.

The Hilltoppers fall to 0-3 on the year.

"St. Edward's made it a lot more difficult than we expected," said Islander head coach Perry Clark, whose team turned the ball over a season-high 19 times. "However, I thought our guys remained poised down the stretch and responded with the plays we needed to in the final minutes. We didn't panic and I was pleased with that.

"We're in a little bit of a transition where we are trying to develop 10 players and just five. By doing that we had a little bit of a lull, but I was pleased with how we responded. It was a great atmosphere."

A&M-Corpus Christi, which outshot the visitors 47.8% to 25% in the first half to lead 37-22 at the intermission, maintained a 15-plus point lead, 48-33 five minutes into the second half after a steal and bucket by Justin Reynolds.

Jeff Miner, who led all players with 23 points, keyed a 16-2 run by converting a three-point play after a three-point basket by Cameron Couball. Couball then ended the run pulling the visitors to within one as he converted a Cory Griffin steal into a basket. St. Edward's scored 20 points of 10 Islander turnovers in the second half.

Couball tied the game at 54 with his second three of the game at the 8:21 mark.

After Terence Jones converted 1-of-2 free throws, Miner gave the Toppers a 1-point lead, 55-54, with less than eight minutes to go.

The Islanders would quickly regain the lead with some timely plays and timely shooting. A&M-Corpus Christi hit 60% from the floor in the final half.

After Reynolds hit a pair of foul shots with 7:17 left, Kevin Palmer swiped a steal and converted a three-point play for a four-point lead,60-56.

Miner and his teammates pulled to within 65-64 as the guard scored on a drive to the basket with just over three minutes left. They would not convert another field goal.

Horace Bond would end the upset bid with a three-point basket from the top of the key with three minutes igniting a 10-2 run to end the game.

Four Islanders finished in double digits. Jones and Reynolds each had 16 points, while Palmer added 15. Reynolds posted the eighth double-double of his career with a game-high 10 rebounds as A&M-Corpus Christi out-rebounded the visitors 36-29. The junior also had four steals and a pair of blocks.

Miner was the lone Hilltopper in double digits.