The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi men's basketball team led by 12 with 5:20 remaining, but had to hold off a late charge by visiting Texas A&M International as the Islanders won 55-52 Wednesday at the American Bank Center.
The win was the third in a row for A&M-Corpus Christi which moves to 4-2. The Dustdevils fall to 1-4.
"We have got to get better consistency out of the post," said head coach Perry Clark. "They out-rebounded us and we never dominated them in the paint like we capable of. If we are going to be the team I think we can be we have got to work to get better."
Kevin Palmer swiped a steal and finished with a dunk to give the Islanders a 12-point lead 53-41, but A&M-Corpus Christi would score just once more. The Islanders turned the ball over five times in the final four-plus minutes and missed the front end of a pair of 1-in-1s. Palmer led the Islanders with 15 points.
Meanwhile, the Dustdevils' Bernard Burrell, who led TAMIU with 15 points, began an 11-2 run with a 3-point basket with just under five minutes to go. After a Justin Reynolds' turnover, Evan Matteson hit a jumper to make it a 53-46 contest.
The Islanders attempted to stem the tide as Filip Toncinic picked up his second steal of a game leading to a base-line jumper by Palmer with 2:41 left to push the margin back to nine, 55-46. It was the last bucket of the game for A&M-Corpus Christi.
After Bernard Burrell hit 1-of-2 free throws with 2:25 left, Palmer committed a charge to turnover the ball. Will Faiivae capitalized for the visitors with a second-chance bucket with 1:28 remaining.
Luis Gomez made it a three-point contest with 52 seconds left with his third three-point basket this time from the left corner. Gomez had 13 points to go with three steals.
The Islanders had two chances in the final 30 seconds to extend their lead. With 29 seconds left, Horace Bond missed the front end of a bonus opportunity from the line. TAMUCC quickly got the ball back after a timeout as Christian Jones was called for pushing off on Coombs.
Palmer went to the line next for the Islanders, who hit 12-of-16 attempts from the line, but missed the front end. Faiivae pulled down the rebound.
After a loose ball went out of bounds in favor of International with 2.2 seconds left, the Dustdevils had one more opportunity. However, TAMUI pass was deflected into the backcourt with the game ending with the ball loose.
The Islanders built a 12-point lead in the opening 20 minutes as they hit 52% (13-of-25) from the floor as Demond Watt had all nine of his points, however in the second half they hit 31.8% (7-of-22). Also, after out-rebounding the Dustdevils 18-15 in the first 20 minutes, the Islanders lost the second half 21-9. It was just the second time TAMUCC has been out-rebounded this season.
After three straight home wins, the Islanders travel to Oxford, Miss. for a 3 p.m. game on Sunday.