November 26, 2010

Islanders Stave Off Bethune-Cookman Rally for 69-65 Win

LAS VEGAS - Demond Watt (23 points, 15 rebounds) and Justin Reynolds (10 points, 13 rebounds) each posted double-doubles as the Texas A&M - Corpus Christi men's basketball team took a 69-65 victory over Bethune-Cookman at the iBN Las Vegas Invitational. The Wildcats (2-3) rallied to bring the game within one score, but Garland Judkins hit four key free throws down the stretch to ice the contest for the Islanders (2-4), who will play at 4 p.m. CT/2 p.m. PT on Saturday.

Watt and Reynolds were monsters on the boards, helping the team to a 47-23 advantage in rebounding in the game. Judkins finished with 11 points to give the Islanders three players in double figures. CJ Reed added with 23 points, 19 after halftime, to lead the Wildcats. Kevin Dukes buried a season-high four three-pointers as well.

The Wildcats got off to a hot start, riding an abundance of free throws three key triples from Dukes to build a 26-16 lead at the 8:45 mark. Defensively, the Islanders kept Reed, who entered the day averaging 20.3 points per game, off the scoreboard until the 7:14 mark of the first half, thanks mostly to a strong defensive performance from Horace Bond and Garland Judkins.

But Texas A&M - Corpus Christi was sparked by a three-ball from Terence Jones at the 7:31 mark that sent them on an 18-4 run to regain the lead headed into the locker room. Bethune-Cookman was only able to muster four free throws the rest of the way, as their last field goal came at the 8:45 mark. During the run, Watt had nine points and the Islanders held BCU to 0-for-6 with four turnovers. The Islanders had a 28-15 edge in rebounds in the first half, including 10 boards for Watt and nine for Reynolds.

Bethune came out of the half and scored the first four points to tie the game, but the Islanders responded with a 16-4 rally to push the score to a game-high 50-38. Judkins buried a key triple and added a layup immediately after for the Islanders and six different players scored in the run.

Reed refused to be stifled the entire game, though, and came alive with 10 straight BCU points late in the second half. He put the Wildcats on an 8-2 run on his own, with the only two Texas A&M - Corpus Christi points coming from Watt at the free-throw line. Bethune continued to surge in the final few minutes, trimming the deficit to just three points at 63-60 with 2:09 to play.

The two teams traded baskets, with Watt hitting a layup and Reed countering with a jumper from the left elbow. After Judkins hit a pair of free throws, Reed came down and drilled a three in transition to make it 67-65, the closest margin since the opening minutes of the half. But Judkins buried two more shots at the line and Reed's last ditch trey fell short as the Islanders came away with the win.

The Islanders will conclude the Invitational on Saturday, when they take on Valparaiso. Live video of the game will be available at http://www.ibnsports.com/lvi.aspx.