Sam Houston State used a hot-shooting second half to jump out to a big lead, then held off a late charge by the Texas A&M - Corpus Christi men's basketball team, 75-67, on Saturday at Johnson Coliseum. Terence Jones led the way for the Islanders (8-17, 3-7 Southland) with a career-high 21 points.
The Bearkats (13-10, 6-4) went 6-for-12 from downtown, and 16-for-29 overall, in the second half to pull away in the game. Leading scorer Gilberto Clavell had 10 of his 13 points after the break, while Josten Crow buried a trio of threes in the second half.
Down as much as 16, the Islanders rallied late, as consecutive Antonio Topps triples and a Jones three-point play made it a 69-61 ballgame in the closing minutes. The Bearkats continued to make their free throws, but Jones and Nelson hit consecutive shots from downtown to make it 73-67 with 14.1 seconds left. The Islanders were able to get no closer, though, resulting in the final score.
Along with Jones, Jawan Nelson (10) and Demond Watt (10) finished in double figures, while Justin Reynolds grabbed eight boards. The Islanders went 8-for-9 at the free-throw line in a losing effort. In addition to Crow's 17, Lance Pevehouse scored 16 for the Bearkats.
The two squads started hot out of the gate, with each burying a pair of buckets for a 5-5 tie at 18:25. The Islanders were able to mount a brief 6-2 run, with Horace Bond scoring a pair of baskets inside for an 11-7 lead. SHSU followed with a quick-strike 8-0 run, then the two teams traded baskets for an 18-13 Bearkat advantage.
The Islanders countered with a 5-0 run of their own, as Jones buried a three and Nelson hit a midrange jumper to tie the score. After a Bearkat basket, Watt hit back-to-back layups inside to give the Islanders a 22-20 advantage with 3:42 left before halftime. SHSU was able to slow the Islanders offense to just two free throws the rest of the way, and with six points of their own, held a 26-24 lead heading to the locker room.
The Bearkats came out of the break firing from the outside, jumping out with a 13-5 run, with two triples from Crow leading the way for a 39-29 edge at 15:16. The Islanders cut into that with a pair of quick baskets, but then SHSU followed with a 12-2 run, the key basket a Crow four-point play, to make it a 51-35 lead.
The Islanders were able to chip away at the lead to trim the deficit to 58-44, with three straight Clavell baskets the only offense for the Bearkats. The two teams traded baskets the next few possessions, but a Nafis Richardson three pushed the SHSU advantage back to 16 before the Islanders rallied at the end.
The Islanders return to action on Tuesday, Feb. 15, against Texas State. The contest will be the Hoops for Blue Scholars game, with donations for every Islanders basket benefitting the families of Corpus Christi police officers. For more information go to hoops.tamucc.edu.