Islanders Pull Away Late in 77-56 Victory

Islanders Pull Away Late in 77-56 Victory
CORPUS CHRISTI - The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi men's basketball team used a 22-2 run late in the second half to pull away with a 77-56 victory over St. Edward's on Wednesday, Dec. 1, at the American Bank Center. Demond Watt posted his fourth double-double of the season, and third 20-10 game, with 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Islanders (3-5).

Hollis Hill posted a career-high 11 points to go along with two steals for the Islanders, while Justin Reynolds had a season-best 15 points in the win. Khaliq Gross had 18 points in the loss for St. Edward's (4-3).

Texas A&M - Corpus Christi outrebounded the Hilltoppers by a 44-20 margin while grabbing 10 steals to SEU's seven. The Islanders also outscored SEU by a 48-23 margin in the paint and had 21 second-chance points to just two for the Hilltoppers.

The visitors were red hot from the field out of the gate, jumping out to a 9-6 lead early on. The Islanders rallied at that point, going on a 6-0 run to garner a 12-9 advantage, and never trailed again, keyed by a Jaamon Echols three from the top of the key. St. Edward's would not wilt, though, and fought back to tie the game at 17 aside on a Tylor Carr triple with 11:09 to play.

That's when the Islanders went on a decisive rally, running off 10 straight points to make it 27-17. Jawan Nelson had a pair of layups in the run, and Hill added a layup and two free throws as well. The advantage stayed around 10 until the closing minutes of the half, when Texas A&M - Corpus Christi posted a 4-0 run to finish, with Darren Warren pouring in a layup just before the buzzer to make it a 40-27 advantage at the half.

The Islanders had a huge advantage on the boards, grabbing 21 caroms to just five for SEU. The home squad had 10 offensive boards to just three defensive boards for the Hilltoppers, and Watt led the way with five rebounds and 12 points. Texas A&M - Corpus Christi had a strong half at the free-throw line as well, going 10-for-13, adding that to a 14-for-26 performance from the field.

The two teams were even out of the locker room, with the Islanders posting a 50-36 lead at the 14:36 mark after a Horace Bond layup. But Khaliq Gross caught fire for the Hilltoppers, scoring the first 12 points for the team to keep them alive. A Gross three was a catalyst for a St. Ed's run, as Bond was also called for a foul on the play, and the Hilltoppers added a traditional three-point play to make it 50-42. A Zilijian Jones triple made it a 9-0 run and forced an Islanders timeout at 50-45.

After St. Ed's trimmed the deficit to 51-47, the home squad recovered with the decisive 22-2 run, with Reynolds scoring seven straight points in the Islanders' rally. Hill was also big in the run, hitting a jumper off a Texas A&M - Corpus Christi steal and later drilling the final bucket of the run with a three from the near corner to make it 73-49. St. Edwards trimmed the final tally to 21 before the final buzzer sounded.

Texas A&M - Corpus Christi returns to action on Tuesday, Dec. 7, when it faces BIG EAST foe Marquette in Milwaukee. Game time is set for 8 p.m. CT at the Bradley Center.