Four Texas A&M-Corpus Christi players scored in double figures as the Islanders clinched the third seed for in next week's State Farm Southland Conference Tournament to be held at the Merrell Center in Katy with a 82-79 win over UT Arlington on Saturday at the American Bank Center.
With the win the Islanders secure the third seed in the Southland Conference Tournament beginning Wednesday at the Merrell Center in Katy. The Islanders will face UTSA at 2:30 p.m. The Islanders finished the regular season 16-14 and 10-6 in the Southland Conference. UT Arlington finishes 16-13 and 8-8 in the league.
"This was a huge win for the seniors," said Islander head coach Perry Clark. "The program was picked to third and - even though it was a bumpy road - I guess we finished on par with where we were expected to be.
"At the end of the season, we have begun to respond to the things that had caused us problems earlier and correcting them. It was huge to finish the season with two wins entering the tournament."
The Islanders led by as many as 12 early in the second half after a Kevin Palmer three-point basket with 17:52 remaining but had to hold off the Mavericks late. UTA used a 14-7 run midway in the half to pull within 55-50 with 12:50 remaining.
UTA's Dwight Gentry III tied the game with a three-point basket with 1:15 remaining after a possession in which the Islanders missed a pair of shots in the paint.
Demond Watt answered with a drive to the basket to give the Islanders a 77-75 advantage with 1:01 remaining. He missed the opportunity to make it a three-point game as he failed to convert the three-point play.
The Islanders nearly forced a steal on the ensuing possession with Armani Williams coming out of a scrum for a loose ball. He broke towards the basket but was fouled by Justin Reynolds. Williams hit 1-of-2 free throws with 27.6 seconds left to make it 77-76 game in favor of the hosts.
After a timeout by UTA, Kevin Palmer was fouled and extended the lead to two, 78-76, by hitting 1-of-2 free throws at 26.7.
Williams had a chance to give the Mavs a lead but his three-point basket rimmed in and out. Watt grabbed the rebound and hit a pair of free throws.
Gentry tried a three from the right corner but missed long as the buzzer sounded.
The first half was close with the largest lead five for the Islanders. Palmer gave the Islanders a 5-0 scoring the first five points of the game. Shamar Coombs, whose three-point basket midway through the half gave the Islanders a second 5-point lead in the first half, hit his second three-point basket of the half as the buzzer sounded.
Palmer led the Islanders with 26 points, while Watt added a career-best 24. Horace Bond added 11 and Coombs finished with 10. Watt led the Islanders with nine rebounds as they enjoyed a 35-32 advantage.
Haynes finished with 17 points, which are six under his league-leading average. Brandon Long added 15 and Jordan Reves 10.