January 11, 2012

Jones' Three Lifts Islanders to 50-49 Win over UTSA

SAN ANTONIO – Terence Jones' go-ahead three with 1:07 to play lifted the Texas A&M – Corpus Christi men's basketball team to a 50-49 victory over UTSA on Wednesday night at the Convocation Center. Jones led the way with 12 points for the Islanders (2-13, 1-2 Southland), who snapped an 11-game losing streak with the win.

UTSA nearly pulled off what would have been a tremendous comeback, as the Islanders held a 37-20 halftime lead and pushed it to 39-20 just after the break. But Jones' clutch three proved the difference, as Melvin Johnson III's desperation three at the buzzer rimmed out to give head coach Willis Wilson his first conference win with the Islanders.

Chris Hawkins-Mast added 10 points for the Islanders, while Myron Dempsey had eight points and 11 boards – his fifth game in the last six with double-digit rebounds. Jones had a team-leading six assists and Hameed Ali added five assists, as Johnathan Jordan was limited to just 15 minutes due to foul trouble. Stephen Franklin had a double-double (10 points, 10 rebounds) in the loss for UTSA.

The Islanders were lights-out from the field in the opening half, going 16-for-28 (.571), but went just 6-for-19 after the break (.316). Kennon Dvorak shot the only free throw of the game for the Islanders, with 6.5 seconds to play.

Both teams started slowly, with the Islanders taking a 5-3 lead, but UTSA put together a 7-0 run to get out to a 10-5 edge at the 15:35 mark. The visitors snapped that rally with an alley-oop to Maxey to spark a 17-4 run, giving the Islanders a 22-14 advantage at the 6:58 mark. The Islanders held UTSA to just one field goal over that span (1-for-12) in addition to forcing four turnovers.

UTSA snapped that string with a Jeromie Hill layup, but the Islanders added to their lead for a 28-19 advantage with 3:26 mark. Texas A&M – Corpus Christi then caught fire from the outside, with a pair of triples from Terence Jones and one from Jake Kocher to bring a 37-20 lead into the break. Eight different players had field goals in the half.

Out of the break, UTSA came out with a 10-4 run before a Myron Dempsey layup stemmed the tide. At that juncture, neither team mounted much at the offensive end, with the Islanders lead being trimmed to 43-31 at the 11:39 mark. Then, the Roadrunner defense clamped down, and the home squad was able to string together a 7-0 run to make the lead just 43-38 with 8:51 left.

Neither team was able to score over the next 3:45, with the streak being broken by a Johnson III fast-break jumper with a foul, finishing the three point play to make it 43-41 Islanders with five minutes to play. UTSA continued to chip away, and finally gained the lead, their first since 14-13, at 46-45 with 2:47 remaining. The two teams traded baskets, then Jones came through with his clutch three from the corner, giving the visitors a 50-48 lead with 1:07 left.

The Roadrunners trimmed it to one on the next possession, as Jeromie Hill hit 1-of-2 at the free-throw line to give the Islanders the ball with a 50-49 lead and 56 seconds left. UTSA got the stop it needed, but  Jordan grabbed a huge defensive rebound, and a foul sent Dvorak to the line with 6.5 seconds to play. The walk-on missed the front end of the 1-and-1, but UTSA's last-second three was just off and the Islanders held on for the victory.

The Islanders return to the road this weekend, heading to Southeastern Louisiana for a Saturday night contest in Hammond, La. Game time is slated for 6 p.m. Follow the game live by following @IslandersMBB on Twitter or listening in on NewsRadio 1360 KKTX.