notched his league-leading ninth double-double of the season with 20 points and 12 boards, but a late Texas State rally carried the Bobcats to a 73-62 win over the Texas A&M - Corpus Christi men's basketball team (7-13, 2-4 Southland) on Wednesday night. Tony Bishop and Ryan White each netted 20 points for the Bobcats (8-11, 3-2) in the win.
The Islanders placed four players in double digits, with Garland Judkins (13), Terence Jones (11) and Justin Reynolds (10) joining Watt with 10-plus points. Free throws proved a big factor, as the Bobcats shot 23-of-28 from the stripe.
Texas State got off to a fast start on the back of J.B. Conley, who scored the first six points for the Bobcats and led the team to a 9-2 lead. But the Islanders struck back with five straight points, including a three-point play from Demond Watt that trimmed the deficit to 9-7.
Texas State countered with a 7-0 run to make it 16-7, but the Islanders defense tightened and led the visitors on a 13-2 run featuring four points from Demond Watt and a pair of fast-break layups to make it an 18-15 deficit, then a floater in the lane from Terence Jones that trimmed it to a one-point game. Jones followed with a triple from the right wing and it was a 20-18 Islanders lead.
Eddie Rios finally snapped the rally with a three-ball of his own to make it 21-20 in favor of the home team once again. The two teams traded blows the rest of the way, with a Justin Reynolds free throw tying the game at 25-all heading to the locker room.
The teams came out of the break even to a 32-31 Bobcat lead at the 17:08 mark, but the Islanders ran off four straight to regain a 35-32 edge. Texas State responded with four straight free throws to take back the lead, then the teams traded free throws to a 38-37 TSU lead. After a Bobcat basket made it 40-37, the Islanders went on a 6-1 run, using three-point plays by Jawan Nelson and Watt to take a 43-41 lead with 13:00 to go.
But the home squad ran off four straight points to garner a 45-43 edge. Then Jones made it rain with a three from the left wing to push the Islanders ahead by a point. Texas State had another rally in it, though, this time drilling a three and adding a jumper and a free throw for a 51-46 lead, the largest of the second half to that point. After a Bishop jumper made it 53-46, the Islanders were forced to call timeout at the 6:34 mark.
A Watt free throw snapped the string, but the Bobcats ran off another 5-0 run to make it 58-47 with 4:55 to play. A Jones trey dug into the deficit, but Ryan White hit an acrobatic layup and drew the foul, converting the three-point play. The Islanders were able to cut into the deficit to result in the final score, but the Bobcats hit their free throws down the stretch, and Texas A&M - Corpus Christi was unable to get any closer than the final score.
The Islanders return to the road this weekend for a conference matchup at Stephen F. Austin on Saturday in a game that will be televised on Southland TV. The game can be viewed in Corpus Christi on myKTOV Channel 21, with tipoff slated for 2 p.m. in Nacogdoches.