SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Terence Jones continued his scoring binge with 19 points, but Missouri State jumped out to a big early lead and never looked back in knocking off the Texas A&M – Corpus Christi men's basketball team 66-53 on Monday. Missouri State (7-3) placed four players in double figures in the second round of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic.
The Islanders (1-8) hit a season-high 10 three-pointers in the loss, with Jones' five leading the way. Chris Hawkins-Mast added eight points, but no other player topped five points in the loss. Ted Wang had a strong contest, posting a career-high four points, five rebounds and 23 minutes. Johnathan Jordan had four assists to just one turnover for the visitors.
Caleb Patterson and Christian Kirk led the way with 13 points each for the Bears, while Kyle Weems and Corey Copeland added 11. Isaiah Rhine had a game-high eight rebounds.
Missouri State jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead, forcing an Islanders timeout, but a Jones triple from the corner snapped the run. But the Bears surged again, pushing the lead to 13-5 on the strength of seven points from Weems. The hot shooting slowed at that point, but another Jones three made it a 15-8 Bears lead with 12:36 remaining in the opening half.
But that was when MSU caught fire, putting up a 17-2 run to push the lead to 32-10 at the 5:04 mark. A Ted Wang free throw snapped the skid, and Hameed Ali scored five straight Islanders points, putting the Bears lead at 39-16 with less than a minute to go in the half. Jones dropped in another three from the right wing, but Michael Bizoukas' running floater at the buzzer made it 41-19 at the break.
Jones led the Islanders with nine points, while Ali had five at halftime. Wang had a strong opening stanza, with three points and four boards in 11 minutes of work.
Out of the locker room, Jones delivered another three to cut into the deficit, and the Islanders defense stepped it up. The visitors held the Bears without a field goal for the first 12:43 of the half, trimming the lead to 44-27 in the process. After the Islanders cut it to 46-30, the Bears heated up from the field, putting up a 7-0 run to push the lead to 23 at the 8:33 mark.
From there, the two teams battled back-and-forth over the next several minutes, with neither team able to change the margin significantly. In the closing minutes, James King got into the action and buried his first career three, a jumper from the right corner, to make it 61-40 in favor of the home squad. That sparked a late rally, as the Islanders caught fire late, cutting into the Bears lead with three triples in rapid succession. But it was too little, too late, as the Bears emerged with the 13-point victory.
The Islanders will continue the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic on Thursday, Nov. 22, and Friday, Nov. 23, at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. Texas A&M – Corpus Christi opens with Bethune-Cookman on Thursday at 12 p.m. PT/2 p.m. CT. Steven King will have the call live on NewsRadio 1360 KKTX.