January 21, 2010

PALMER LEADS ISLANDERS TO 4-0 START WITH 32 POINTS

Kevin Palmer

led Texas A&M-Corpus Christi with a season-high 32 points as the Islanders remained unbeaten in Southland Conference play with an 81-64 win over Lamar on Stripes Court at the American Bank Center.

With the win, the Islanders move to 9-8 on the season and have the best record in the Southland Conference at 4-0. Lamar drops to 10-9 on the year with the loss evening its league record at 2-2.

In the first half, the Islanders rode the trio of Palmer, Justin Reynolds and Demond Watt. The threesome combined for 38 of the team's 42 first half points. A&M-Corpus Christi led 42-32 at the intermission. Aside from Palmer's 32, Reynolds added 18 and Watt 11

Trailing 2-0 early, the Islanders went on a 15-4 run to lead 15-6 five minutes into the game. Reynolds had six of his 13 first half points early in the run, while Watt had a pair of baskets to push A&M-Corpus Christi ahead 10-4.

After a basket by Coy Custer, Palmer showed his explosiveness with five straight points. Palmer began with a three-pint basket and finished a fast-break opportunity with a dunk after a steal by Terence Jones.

Palmer extended the lead to 11 points, 19-8, with a jumper, before Lamar responded with a 12-3 run. The Cardinal spurt pulled the visitors to within two, 22-20.

Stan Brown had five points during the run with Lawrence Nwevo adding four. A steal and jumper by Kendrick Harris cut the lead to a basket with 7:29 remaining in the half. A three-point play by Reynolds accounted for the only points by the Islanders during the run.

A&M-Corpus Christi seized control of the game with a 20-7 run spurred by 13 points and a pair of steals by Palmer, who had 17 points by the intermission.

Attacking the paint, the first six points of the run for A&M-Corpus Christi were layins followed by a pair of Watt free throws. Horace Bond and LaMarr Drake followed with the only points in the half not by the trio of Watt, Palmer and Reynolds.

Palmer sandwiched a pair of threes around a trey by Anthony Miles to cap the run. The senior's second long distance shot extended the Islander lead to 42-27 with two minutes left in the half.

Harris closed the half with five straight points to make it a 10-point game at the break.

In the second half, Lamar would pull to within six points multiple times but could get no closer. Three times in the first seven minutes the Cardinals pulled to within half a dozen, but each time the Islanders extended the lead back to nine with a three-point basket. Palmer hit a two of the treys with the third coming from Jones.

Nabors, who had all 19 of his points in the second half, would cut the lead to six twice more, but could not get the Cardinals over the hump. The last time was at 63-57 with 8:42 left.

A&M-Corpus Christi responded with an 18-7 run to finish the game.

The Islanders finished the game with a season-low 12 turnovers, while forcing 16. They had 10 steals led by Palmer with five. A&M-Corpus Christi, which was out-shot 53.1% to 48.4%, also won the battle on the boards. The Islanders out-rebounded the Cardinals 33-28 as all five TAMUCC starters had five. Lamar, which entered the game tops in the Southland in rebounding, was led by Nabors with nine.

Charlie Harper joined Nabors in double digits for the visitors with 11 points.

The Islanders hit the road for two straight beginning with Saturday's game at UTSA at 7 p.m. They then step out of Southland action with a game at Texas-Pan American on Monday evening.