CORPUS CHRISTI – Texas A&M – Corpus Christi used an 11-0 run early in the second half to pull away in a 60-49 victory over Texas Lutheran in the Islanders' season opener on Saturday night on Stripes Court at the American Bank Center. Johnathan Jordan and Will Nelson each had 13 points in the victory to lead the Islanders.
Nate Maxey added six points to go along with eight rebounds and four blocks for the Islanders, while Hameed Ali had nine points and Joy Williamson eight. Justin Lindsey and Troy Griffith each posted 10 points to finish in double figures and lead the way for TLU.
The Islanders started slow from the field, but went toe-to-toe with TLU early, as the Bulldogs took a 12-11 lead at the 11:35 mark. That's when Texas Lutheran went on a 6-0 run, with a trio of buckets inside, to push their lead to 18-11 with 8:13 to play in the opening half.
The shooting slump continued, as the Bulldogs pushed the lead to 23-13 on an Evan Reed three-ball. But the Islanders started to get it going on the offensive end. A&M – Corpus Christi closed the half on a 9-2 run, surrendering only two free throws on the defensive end, and going 3-for-5 over the final 3:05 to cut the deficit to 25-22 heading to the locker room. Over the final five minutes, the Islanders held the Bulldogs to 0-for-7 shooting with three turnovers.
The Islanders continued the momentum out of the half, starting out on an 11-5 run to take a 33-30 lead. A&M – Corpus Christi hit four of its first nine shots, including its first 3-pointer of the game, a triple from Ali from the right wing. From there, the two teams went blow-for-blow over the next several minutes, with A&M – Corpus Christi holding a 39-37 lead.
A Cole Martinez three-ball from the left corner ignited an 11-0 run for the Islanders to push the lead into double digits for the first time. The star of the rally, though, was Maxey, who had a trio of alley-oop finishes, two from Jordan and one from Williamson, pushing the lead to 13 for the home squad.
From there on, the two teams traded blows until the final whistle, with TLU getting no closer than eight the rest of the way.
The Islanders will take to the road next with a trip to Denver on Wednesday, Nov. 14, at 8 p.m. CT/7 p.m. MT. For in-game updates, be sure to follow Islanders Men's Basketball on Twitter (@IslandersMBB), and listen in to the game on NewsRadio 1360 KKTX. Yannis Koutroupis will have the call starting at 7:45 with the pregame show.