The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi men's basketball team will have more than revenge on its mind Saturday as its heads to Nacogdoches to face Stephen F. Austin in the Southland Conference Game of the Week.
The Islanders, who last season had their season ended in the semifinals by the Lumberjacks by a score of 63-60, will be looking to pull into a tie for the second seed in the upcoming tournament with SFA. UT Arlington if it wins on Saturday at league-leader Sam Houston State would also be tied. A&M-Corpus Christi (14-13) enters the weekend 8-5 in the league and tied with the Mavericks. The Lumberjacks lead the East Division at 9-4 and are 19-7 on the year.
In the conference tournament a season ago, the Islanders led by four, 55-51, heading into the final five minutes. After Eddie Williams made 1-of-2 free throws to make it a three-point game, Josh Alexander tied the game at 55 by converting a three-point play. SFA built a lead of as many as three points, 59-56, on a Matt Kingsley jumper with 2:35 left. Kingsley led all players with 26.
Shamar Coombs, who led the Islanders with 19 points, drove to the bucket with 2:16 remaining made it a 59-58 game with 2:16 left. The Islanders twice had chances to take the lead in the final two minutes, but Demond Watt and Coombs each missed opportunities down one with the last coming with 21 seconds left.
An Eddie Williams bucket with 15 seconds left pushed the Islander deficit to three. Coombs hit a pair of foul shots to make it a one-point game with nine seconds left. Josh Alexander was fouled with seven seconds left and made a pair of foul shots to make it a three-point game. Kevin Palmer, who had 14 points despite playing with an injury, had attempted a game-tying three at the buzzer but was off target.
While the cast of characters for the Islanders remains mostly the same with the exception of Tim Green, SFA went through wholesale changes with the graduation of Kingsley and Alexander, who were their top two scorers. Williams is the top scorer with 13.5 points a game, while Jereal Scott is scoring 12.8. Walt Harris is also in double figures with 11.8 per contest.
Palmer continues to lead the Islanders averaging 19.6 a contest, while Demond Watt is next at 13.0 points game. Watts continues to shoot a tremendous clip hitting over 75% of his shots in the last four games. He also leads the team with 7.9 rebounds a game.