The four-man senior class for the Texas A&M - Corpus Christi men's basketball team finished their careers on a two-game winning streak as the Islanders knocked off Central Arkansas, 76-69 on Saturday at the Farris Center. Demond Watt scored 20 points in his final collegiate game.
Terence Jones scored 12 points to go with five rebounds and five assists in the win, and Chris Mast added 10 points. The contest was the final collegiate game for seniors Justin Reynolds (six points, seven boards, five blocks), Horace Bond (four points, eight rebounds) and Antonio Topps (nine points, four assists). Tadre Sheppard scored 16 in a losing effort for the Bears.
The Islanders posted a 30-8 run around halftime to turn a 14-point deficit into a seven-point lead. During the rally, the Islanders held the Bears without a field goal over a span of 14:52, as UCA went 0-for-18 during the skid. The Islanders shot 51 percent from the field in the game, the third straight game that the team has topped 50 percent shooting.
The Bears jumped out to a quick 8-2 lead behind triples by TK Smith and Imad Qahwash. After UCA pushed it to a 13-6 advantage, the Islanders used an 8-2 run to close the deficit to 15-14 on a pair of treys by Jones. Again, though, the Bears responded, putting up a 13-4 rally of their own to repossess a 28-18 lead to force an Islanders timeout at the 9:04 mark.
The run continued to a 32-18 Bears lead until a Reynolds dunk snapped the string. After two Qahwash free throws, the Islanders put up a 7-0 run featuring two buckets from Watt and another Jones trey to make it 34-27. The Islanders added a 9-2 run to tie the score at 36-36, but Jacquan McClinton hit a free throw with five seconds left to send the game to the break with UCA leading 37-36. The Islanders defense held the Bears without a field goal over the last 7:41, forcing seven turnovers and holding them to 0-for-8 shooting.
Halftime did not cool the visitors, as the Islanders put up a 9-1 run out of the locker room to gain their first lead of the game and push it to a 45-38 advantage. Topps had a three and Reynolds and Watt both threw down thunderous dunks in the run. After the Bears finally delivered a field goal, the Islanders continued to push the lead to a game-high 13 at 55-42 as a Jawan Nelson trey capped off the run.
UCA was able to respond with a 14-8 run after Ryan Williams hit three straight buckets to trim the home squad's deficit to just seven at 63-56. The hot shooting continued for the Bears, as they used their pressure defense to score the next five points and trim it to 63-61. But the Islanders were able to put up a 6-0 run with Watt hitting two free throws and a Garland Judkins slam and a Mast layin providing the offense.
The Bears refused to fade, though, continuing to play strong defense and convert their opportunities to trim it to a 72-69 game with 27 seconds to play. Free throws by Jones and Watt pushed it to a 74-69 lead, and after Williams' attempted three rimmed out, the Islanders capped it with two free throws by Mast to finish off the contest.
With back-to-back wins to close the season, the Islanders finish the 2010-11 campaign with an overall record of 10-21 and a conference mark of 5-11.