February 4, 2010

ISLANDERS FALL IN OVERTIME TO MAVERICKS

The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi men's basketball team suffered its second straight loss in Southland Conference play falling in overtime to UT Arlington 71-66 Wednesday night at Texas Hall.

Horace Bond gave the Islanders (11-10, 5-2) an early three-point lead in the extra period hitting one of two free throws and then converting a LaMarr Drake steal into a dunk for a 62-59 lead 40 seconds into the period.

After Brandon Long tied the game with a three-point basket, Demond Watt converted a three-point play to push the Islander lead back to three, 65-62, with 3:15 left.

The Mavs (11-9, 3-4), however, outscored the Islanders 7-1 over the final three minutes. LaMarcus Reed, who had four points in the run, hit a jumper to start the spurt. Marquez Haynes followed with a steal and was fouled driving to the basket. He hit a pair of foul shots to make it 66-65 for the Mavs.

Kevin Palmer had a chance to give the Islanders the lead back, but missed the first of two foul shots before draining the second to tie the game at 66 with 2:18 left.

Long, who entered the game 2-of-27 from long range entering the game, broke the deadlock with a three with 2:08 remaining. Long finished 5-of-8 from behind the arc in the game.

On the ensuing possession, Watt was called for a charge giving the ball back to UTA. After the teams swapped missed shots, the Islanders had one more chance to tie the game. With 11 seconds left, Kevin Palmer attempted a leaner from three-point range but was off target.

A pair of foul shots by Reed with nine seconds left sealed the win.

Regulation was a see-saw battle with the Islanders inability to convert at the foul line the biggest difference. In the first 40 minutes, the contest saw 13 ties and 10 lead changes in regulation. Five points was the largest lead either side manage with TAMUCC leading by five once early in each period.

The Islanders had their chances in regulation to seal the win but struggled mightily at the foul line hitting just 12-of-28 free throws in regulation and committed 16 of their 19 turnovers. UTA hit 21-of-31 foul shots in regulation, and only 14 miscues

"If we make our free throws we walk away with the win," said Islander head coach Perry Clark. "It is that simple. We had the guys we wanted at the line and it didn't make them. Finishing 15-of-33 is horrendous."

A&M-Corpus Christi opened the second with a three-point basket from Terence Jones for a 30-25 lead a minute in to the period. A three by Haynes and a pair of foul shots by Reed quickly knotted the game at 30.

The Islanders pushed their lead to four in the final eight minutes on three occasions but could not hold on for the win.

With the game tied at 46, LaMarr Drake hit a three after a skip pass by Palmer. Filip Toncinic hit 1-of-2 foul shots for a 50-46 lead with 7:25 left.

UTA fought back with Dwight Gentry hitting a three-point basket with just over five minutes to go to knot the game at 51.

With 2:13 left and the game tied at 55, the Islanders tried to pull away one last time. Palmer hit one of two foul shots to break the tie. Bond followed with a three-point basket at the 1:17 mark for a 59-55 lead.

Haynes, the nation's second-leading scorer coming into the game at 24.5 points entering the game, converted a three-point play with 55 seconds left to make it a 1-point game.

Looking to seal the win, Palmer was stripped of the ball by Gentry with 24 seconds left. Drake hustled back and appeared to steal the ball right back but was ruled out of bounds on the play.

Palmer was called for reaching in with eight seconds left with eight seconds left. Reed missed the first free throw but hit his second to knot the game at 59.

Drake attempted a three as time ran out but was off the mark forcing overtime.

Reed hit 1-of-2 free throws to force overtime eight seconds left.

Kevin Palmer, who missed a long-range three with 13 seconds left, led the Islanders with 16 points, six assists and four steals, while Watt had 10 points. Watt also had 10 rebounds as A&M-Corpus Christi out-rebounded UTA 41-39. It was Watt's sixth double-double of the season. Justin Reynolds, who had six points in the first and eight in the game, missed the final 12 minutes of the second half after hitting his head on the floor in a nasty fall.

Marquez Haynes had a game-high 20 points and Long added 19. Tommy Moffitt had 10 boards for the Mavs.

The Islander men return to action on Saturday for Homecoming on Stripes Court with Nicholls visiting. The game is slated for a 7 p.m. tip. The first 1,000 fans will receive a Squizzy, while $5 Island seats are also available at the American Bank Center or by calling the Islander ticket office at 825-BALL (2255).