ISLANDERS DROP NAILBITER TO COWBOYS
LAKE CHARLES, La. - For the second-straight game, the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi men's basketball team had the ball with under 10 seconds left with a chance to win or tie a game but came up short dropping a 65-62 decision to McNeese State Saturday at Burton Coliseum.
It was the third loss in a row for the Islanders, who are now 7-5 in the league and 13-13 on the year. The Cowboys moved to 9-17 overall and 4-8 in the Southland.
Trailing by nine with 2:36 remaining, Demond Watt, who finished with a career-high 22 points, converted a three-point play to pull the Islanders to within six. After the Cowboys couldn't convert on their next possession, Shamar Coombs drained a three-point basket from the left corner making it a three-point game, 60-57, with just under two minutes left.
The Cowboys answered with their eighth three of the game on a deep three-point basket by Patrick Richard with 1:20 left. McNeese finished 8-of-18 from behind the line.
A&M-Corpus Christi's LaMarr Drake responded with a three at the top of the key with 1:11.
Following a stoppage in play due to an issue with the shot and game clocks, Coombs came up with a loose rebound and was fouled. He hit pair of foul shots to make it a 63-62 contest with 27.4 remaining.
The Cowboys had a chance to make it a three-point game again, but C.J. Collins made just 1-of-2 foul shots with 24.3 seconds left.
Down 64-62, the Islanders had an opportunity to tie, but Marcus Hammonds was called for travelling as he left his feet. He tried to bounce the ball before his feet hit the ground, but to no avail.
Dontae Cannon was fouled with 6.4 seconds left and hit the second of two foul shots to make it a 65-62 contest with 6.4 seconds remaining.
The Islanders had one last chance, but Drake's three-point attempt from the left wing was off target.
TAMUCC played from behind much of the second half.
After Justin Reynolds made two free throws to give the visitors 38-37 advantage six minutes into the second period, Will Morning scored four points in a 10-1 run to make it a 47-38 game with 9:50 left.
The Islanders would trail by as many as nine on two occasions before making their final run and would not regain the lead.
In the first half, the Islanders sprung out of the gates scoring the first five points en route to a 9-1 lead. After Watt opened the game with a bucket in the paint, Horace Bond hit a three as the shot clock wound down.
Watt and Reynolds would each add buckets in the paint following a McNeese free throw to make it 9-1 3:28 into the game.
The Cowboys then warmed up with an 17-5 run to take an 18-14 lead. McNeese State, which was 6-of-10 from behind the arc in the first half, used threes by Patrick Richard and Diego Kapelan in the run. A&M-Corpus Christi had just one field goal in the run.
Two more threes b y Kapelan and another by Stephan Martin pushed the hosts advantage to 27-17.
Led by Kevin Palmer, the Islanders charged back to within a basket with a 9-0 spurt. Palmer had five of his nine points in the run. Coombs bucket with 2:23 left in the half pulled the Islanders to within a point at 27-26.
A tip by Watt as the half ended helped the Islanders remain within a point, 31-30, at the break.
Watt was the lone Islander in double figures as Palmer was held to single digits for the second time this season. Reynolds had seven points and a game-high nine rebounds as the Islanders won the rebounding war 39-29. They finished with 19 turnovers to McNeese's 12. Drake had four steals and Palmer three while McNeese's C.J. Collins had four.
The Islanders out-shot McNeese 42% to 39.2%, but were 3-of-16 behind the arc.
The Islanders return home to host Southeastern Louisiana at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the American Bank Center. They head to Nacogdoches on Saturday for a 2 p.m. game with Stephen F. Austin in the Southland Conference Game of the Week