Kevin Palmer exploded for 21 second-half points Wednesday night as Texas A&M-Corpus Christi held off Texas State for 63-60 win at the American Bank Center. It was the Islanders fourth straight win over the Bobcats.
The game was tight for much of the game with the Islanders (13-10, 7-2) slowly building a 10-point lead, 61-51, with 5:07 left on a pair of Demond Watt free throws.
The Bobcats (11-13, 7-5) wouldn't go away clawing back to within two, 62-60, with 1:03 remaining. Cameron Johnson hit 1-of-2 from the foul line to cap a 9-1 run. Johnson had seven of his 21 points in the run, while J.B. Conley swiped a steal with 3:13 left and converted a dunk.
Palmer had a chance to seal the win at the foul line with eight seconds left with a pair of foul shots but hit just 1-of-2 for a three-point lead. Palmer finished with 26 points, while Watt added 16 top lead A&M-Corpus Christi. The Islanders were 15-of-29 from the foul line in the game.
Conley, who hit a three at the buzzer in the first half fired a three as time expired, tried his luck again but his three was off target.
A&M-Corpus Christi started off slowly coming up empty on their first six trips of the game before Horace Bond jumper put the home team on the board.
Both teams went back and forth with the Bobcats leading by one point at the break as Conley hit a three-point bucket at the buzzer. The largest lead of the opening 20 minutes was six on a layin by Justin Reynolds with seven minutes remaining in the half.
In the evenly matched first half, each team was 11-of-27 from the floor for 40.7%. The Islanders won the rebounding war in the first period 23-14 but was just 6-of-11 from the foul line and committed 12 turnovers.
Seven Islanders scored before intermission led by Demond Watt who had a team-high six, while LaMarr Drake, Reynolds and Palmer each had five. Texas State also put seven in the scoring column with Johnson scoring eight.
Palmer made history in the game with a pair of first half steals. With the two swipes, he broke the all-time steal record of 147 held by Taurean Mitchell and now has 148 in his career.
While struggling at the line and with turnovers finishing with 24, TAMUCC won the rebounding war 42-28. Palmer led the way with eight, while Marcus Hammonds grabbed six. Drake, Reynolds and Watt each had five boards. Johnson had a game-high 11 for the Bobcats.
The Islanders travel to Sam Houston State on Saturday to take on the league-leading Bearkats at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN 1230 KSIX.