December 17, 2011

Mountaineers' Second-Half Surge Sinks Islanders, 84-64

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Chris Hawkins-Mast had a career-high 22 points and Terence Jones added 20, but West Virginia's inside game was too much for the Texas A&M – Corpus Christi men's basketball team in an 84-64 victory on Saturday at the WVU Coliseum. Kevin Jones scored 22 and Deniz Kilicli added 13 for the Mountaineers, who improved to 7-2 on the year.

Myron Dempsey added eight points and eight boards for the Islanders (1-7), while Johnathan Jordan matched his career-high with six assists in the contest. The Islanders shot 50 percent (7-of-14) from the outside in the game. WVU scored 34 points in the paint, 24 after halftime, to emerge victorious.

After the Mountaineers scored the first bucket of the game, the Islanders countered with an 8-0 run on two Terence Jones threes and a Jordan layup to make it 8-2. But WVU came right back, getting five straight points to trim it to 8-7. From there, it was give-and-take between the two teams, with the Mountaineers rallying for a 14-13 lead to force a timeout from Willis Wilson at the 12:45 mark.

But the rally continued after the timeout, with Aaron Brown knocking down a three to ignite a 5-0 run for a 19-13 lead. Hawkins-Mast responded with back-to-back buckets inside to trim it to a 19-17 deficit. Again, the home squad replied, though, this time with Jabari Hinds scoring four straight points and Truck Bryant knocking down a three to open up a 26-17 lead before a Myron Dempsey putback ended the skid. From there the teams battled back-and-forth for a 29-23 Mountaineers edge. The Islanders trimmed it to 32-28 at the half to go in down four, closing with an 11-6 rally.

Out of the break, the two teams traded baskets to make it 35-31, but Kevin Jones scored eight straight points on his own for a 43-31 edge for the home squad. The Mountaineers pushed it to 46-31 before a Dempsey layup broke the rally. But WVU continued to press on, with Kilicli and Jones doing most of the damage, at one point scoring 17 of 19 Mountaineer points. A Terence Jones layin reduced the deficit to 54-39 at the 11:46 mark.

But the Mountaineers' hot shooting continued, as did the performance of Kevin Jones and Kilicli. The duo combined for 25 of the first 36 Mountaineers points out of the break. But after trailing 59-39 at the 11:22 mark, the Islanders refused to go quietly, staging an 18-11 run to cut it to 13 with 5:49 left. Terence Jones' shooting was largely responsible for the run, as he hit four of his first five shots in the half to top 20 points for the second time this year.

The Mountaineers continued to try to deliver the knockout blow, but every time the Islanders were able to punch back. Hawkins-Mast and Hameed Ali delivered threes in the closing minutes and Dempsey added a high-effort second putback. But the Mountaineers were too much for the Islanders offensively, finishing off the 20-point victory.

The Islanders will continue the Las Vegas Classic on Monday, when they travel to Springfield, Mo., for a matchup with Missouri State at 7 p.m. Steven King will have the call on NewsRadio 1360 KKTX and GoIslanders.com.