The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi men's team jumped out to a 46-21 lead two minutes into the second half, but had to hold off a furious second-half rally by Southeastern Louisiana to win 68-57 Wednesday night at the American Bank Center
With the win, the Islanders snapped a three-game losing streak in Southland Conference play to move to 8-5 in the league and 14-13 overall. Southeastern drops a game behind the Islanders at 7-6 in the league and 15-11 overall.
In the second half, the Islanders extended the lead to 25 points early, 46-21, on a bucket by Demond Watt just over two minutes into the period.
However, A&M-Corpus Christi would go cold offensively, while Southeastern Louisiana warmed up. Over the next six minutes, the Islanders would be held scoreless, while the Lions went on a 14-0 run to pull within 11, 46-35, at the 11:59 mark on a basket by Sullivan.
During the Southeastern run, the Islanders had seven turnovers after just five in the first 20 minutes and attempted only three shots. The Lions would go 5-of-8 from the floor during the spurt.
The Islanders responded pushing the lead back to 17 with a 6-0 run to take a 52-35 lead with 10:59 left.
This time Southeastern used a 13-0 to pull within four on a Rodney Jones free throw with 7:17 left.
Kevin Palmer, who led the Islanders with 26 points, stemmed the tied hitting a jumper and a free throw to give the Islanders a 7-point lead with 6:12 on the clock.
Southeastern pulled to within four, 57-53, again with just under three minutes on a pair of free throws by Patrick Sullivan. It could get no closer
After a jumper by Palmer, with 2:38 remaining to make it 59-53, the Islanders would connect on 7-of-8 foul shots to remain unbeaten when leading with under five minutes to go.
Palmer, Watt and Justin Reynolds combined for 35 points in the first half as A&M-Corpus Christi dominated the first 20 minutes shooting 50% to take a 40-18 halftime lead. The Islanders limited Southeastern to 35.3% shooting in the first 20 minutes, while out-rebounding the Lions 21-8.
Aside from Palmer's 26, Watt finished with 17 points and missed a double-double with nine rebounds. Reynolds had 12 points with seven rebounds and a career-high five steals as the Islanders had nine as a unit. Jones led Southeastern with 15 points, while Sullivan finished with 11 and a team-best eight rebounds. David Ndoumba came off the bench to add 10.
For the game, the Islanders held Southeastern to 42.2% shooting. The Lions came into the game leading the conference by hitting over 50% of its shots in league games and over 48% on the season. The Islanders also won the battle on the glass 38-23. Playing the Southland's best defense based on field-goal percentage, A&M-Corpus Christi finished 43.8% from the floor and was 22-of-28 from the foul line. The Lions came in holding opponents to under 40%.
The Islanders travel to Nacogdoches on Saturday to face the Lumberjacks at 2 p.m. It is the Southland Conference Network Game of the Week.