CORPUS CHRISTI – Myron Dempsey's layup with 7.1 seconds remaining sent the game to overtime, and a clutch Hameed Ali three-pointer in the extra session gave the Texas A&M – Corpus Christi basketball team (1-2) a lead it would not relinquish in a 58-55 win over Utah State (2-2) on Tuesday night at the American Bank Center. Dempsey posted a double-double with 16 points and 15 rebounds in the victory.
The win was the first in Willis Wilson's tenure as head coach of the Islanders program.
Terence Jones added 14 points for the Islanders, including a 5-for-6 effort from the line, in the victory. Texas A&M – Corpus Christi had a season-low 12 turnovers on the game, just five after halftime. The Islanders improved to 13-5 all-time in overtime contests with the victory. Morgan Grim added a double-double for the Aggies with 20 points and 12 boards, while Brockeith Pane scored 15 in the loss.
With the score tied at 49-49 in the extra session, Pane got the scoring started with a jumper from the foul-line extended for a 49-47 lead. But Jordan went to the line at the other end and hit 2-of-2 to tie the game at 49 apiece. Both teams went empty on their next possession, but Grim went to the line and delivered a pair of shots for a 51-49 advantage. Dempsey followed with 1-of-2, then after a turnover Jones hit both shots at the stripe to make it 52-51 Islanders with 1:56 remaining in OT.
Pane drew a foul while cutting to the basket on the other end, and the veteran found the bottom of the net with both attempts for a 53-52 Aggie advantage. Ali then knocked down the pivotal three from the corner, and after a Dempsey defensive board, Jones buried a pair of shots from the stripe to make it 57-53. A Grim layup trimmed it to 57-55, but Jones hit 1-of-2 with five seconds left to result in the final score.
Texas A&M – Corpus Christi was helped by 16 offensive rebounds that led to 22 second-chance points and scored 16 points of 16 USU turnovers. The back-and-forth affair saw 12 ties and 15 lead changes.
Early on, both defenses kept their opponents in check, with the score tied at 4-4 until the 13:45 mark. Dempsey scored the first four points for the Islanders. The Aggies scored four straight to build a lead, but that was countered by a 6-0 run, culminating with a Chris Hawkins-Mast layin to make it 10-8. The Aggies responded with a 6-2 run, but Nate Maxey tossed in a brilliant layup inside to make it a 16-14 deficit with just 4:50 to go until halftime.
The Islanders trimmed it to one on a Hawkins-Mast free throw, then regained the lead on a Johnathan Jordan layup that found its way home to make it 17-16. But USU got ahead again on the first three of the game for either team, a triple from the left wing by Adam Thoseby, that put the score at 19-17 Aggies. The Islanders scored four straight on a Pope-Didier layup and a putback from Myron Dempsey, but Mitch Bruneel got the lead back for the visitors on a three from the right corner to give the Aggies a 22-21 lead at the break.
The two teams continued their back-and-forth out of the locker room, with a Jones jumper giving the Islanders a 25-24 lead. After the Aggies regained the lead on a Morgan Grim putback, Jones buried a three, the Islanders' first of the contest, to make it 28-26 in favor of the home squad. After the score moved to 29-28, Maxey slammed home an alley-oop from Jordan to make it a three-point lead for A&M – Corpus Christi.
Utah State rallied to tie the score, but Jones came through with the big basket again, hitting a running jumper to make it 34-32 Islanders. The Aggies struck with a left-wing triple from Thoseby, but Jordan countered with an impressive layup in traffic to regain the lead. After a Dempsey bucket in the lane, another Thoseby trey tied the game for the eighth time at 38-all with 6:45 to play.
The Aggies got four straight points from Brockeith Pane to pull ahead 42-38, then Jordan hit 1-of-2 from the stripe to trim it back to three. A Kyisean Reed putback and a Pane free throw pushed the lead to 45-39, the largest of the game for USU, with 3:12 remaining. But the Islanders bounced back, getting a layup from Hawkins-Mast and a back-door layup from Ali to trim the deficit to 45-43.
Utah State responded with a Grim layup to push the lead back to four, but again the Islanders responded, getting another back-door bucket, this one from Hawkins-Mast, to make it 47-45 Aggies. Preston Medlin was fouled on the ensuing possession, but missed the front end of the 1-and-1 to give the Islanders the ball with 20.9 seconds left. Dempsey delivered the heroics by finding the bottom of the net from inside to tie the score at 47.
The Islanders return to action on Saturday, Nov. 26, as they head to College Station for a matchup with No. 25 Texas A&M. Tipoff is slated for 3 p.m. at Reed Arena. Live audio will be available on GoIslanders.com.