Savannah State Edges Islanders in OT
Preston Blackmon hit a game-tying three pointer with 5.6 seconds to go in regulation to send the game to overtime, and Savannah State posted a 63-57 OT victory over the Texas A&M - Corpus Christi men's basketball team on Monday at the American Bank Center. Justin Reynolds had 19 points and a career-high 15 rebounds in a losing effort for the Islanders. It marked the fourth straight win for the Tigers.
Demond Watt added 18 points and nine rebounds for the Islanders, adding three blocks in 41 minutes of action. Stephen Wilson and Blackmon had 16 points each, while Jovonni Shuler added 12 for the visitors.
In the extra session, the Islanders struck first with a Hollis Hill three from the right corner to make it 57-54. Savannah State got one back on a Wilson free throw, then took the lead on a Shuler triple from the left wing as the shot clock expired to make it 58-57 in favor of the visitors. Joshua Montgomery added a three from the right corner to push the advantage to 61-57, and Wilson then hit a pair of free throws to result in the final score.
At the start of the contest, both teams came out of the gate slowly on the offensive end, as the Tigers opened a 6-3 lead just under five minutes into the game. Justin Reynolds then drove to the glass for a layup and Jawan Nelson hit a free throw to draw even at 6-6. After an SSU basket, Antonio Topps got hot, draining a pair of threes to gain a 12-8 edge for the home squad. But the Tigers again had the response, hitting consecutive triples to regain the lead at 14-12.
Reynolds then took control, nailing a three then adding a mid-range jumper to make it 17-14 in favor of the Islanders. Savannah State stopped the rally with a free throw, but Watt delivered a fast-break layup and added a put-back tip-in to make it 21-15. Savannah State got two points back on a steal and layup, then added a free throw to make it 21-18. Horace Bond followed with a putback of his own to send it to halftime at 23-18.
Reynolds got the Islanders on the board in the second half with a layup to make it 25-18, and Watt hit a pair of free throws to push it to a nine-point advantage. The Tigers stopped the run with a shot from the line, but Reynolds banked in a jumper from the top of the key and added a tip-in to push it to a 12-point lead for the home squad. Savannah State finally snapped the 8-1 run with a three-point play from Keierre Richards that made the score 31-22.
The two teams traded blows back-and-forth to a 40-32 score, but then the Islanders went on a 4-0 run to push the lead back to 12 points. But SSU came alive, and countered with an 11-0 run to make it the slimmest of margins for the Islanders lead at 44-43. Terence Jones then came through with a crucial bucket, drilling a jumper from just inside the arc to push the lead to three. After a Reynolds free throw, the two squads traded baskets for a 49-45 Islanders lead.
Jyles Smith pulled the visitors within a basket with a turnaround in the lane, but the Islanders got a Watt free throw, rebounded his missed second shot and made it a five-point edge on a Reynolds layin. From there, the Islanders defense held strong, thwarting the Tigers on three straight trips to keep it at 52-47. But SSU was able to take advantage of fouling the Islanders, trimming the deficit to three, and a Preston Blackmon three tied the game with 5.6 seconds remaining. Hill had an opportunity for the winner, but his runner in the lane rimmed out to send the game to overtime.
The Islanders return to conference play this weekend, as they head to Huntsville, Texas, for a matchup with Sam Houston State. Game time is set for 7 p.m. at Johnson Coliseum.