November 17, 2012

Utah State Holds Off Upset-Minded Islanders, 77-68

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LOGAN, Utah – The Texas A&M – Corpus Christi men's basketball team gave host Utah State all it could handle, but the Aggies (2-1) were able to hold off the Islanders (1-2) in a 77-68 victory at Dee Glen Smith Spectrum on Saturday night. A&M-Corpus Christi placed four players in double figures in a losing effort.

Will Nelson scored all of his 17 points in the second half to lead the Islanders, while Johnathan Jordan added 13 and Joy Williamson and Hameed Ali posted 10 apiece. A&M – Corpus Christi dished out 17 assists to just six turnovers, with Ali (7 assists, 0 turnovers) and Jordan (6 assists, 1 turnover) leading the way for the offense. For Ali, the seven assists were a career high.

Preston Medlin and Jarred Shaw led the way for USU, scoring 17 points apiece, while Kyisean Reed added 15. The Aggies won the battle of the boards, 33-23, and TeNale Roland ran the offense with seven assists.

Early on, both defenses started strong, with the Aggies holding a 4-3 lead at the 15:00 mark. Utah State then went on a 6-0 run to push the lead to seven, but Williamson snapped the rally with a three from the corner. The Aggies responded with a triple of their own, but freshman Brandon Pye came through with a triple from the right wing as the shot clock ran out to make it 13-9.

From there, the Islanders continued to stay right with Utah State, answering every basket with one of their own. A Jordan runner got it to a two-point game at 17-15, but he was unable to convert the traditional three-point play. USU got a three-point play of its own at the other end from Ben Clifford to push the advantage back to five, and would stretch the lead to a game-high eight at 31-23. Nate Maxey closed the scoring with his second dunk of the night, sending the Islanders to the locker room down by six at 31-25.

Out of the break, the Islanders cut it to three on a triple from the left corner by Kennon Dvorak, but USU responded with what turned out to be a decisive 13-0 run to break the game open. Jarred Shaw had six points and Kyisean Reed had four during the rally for the Aggies.

But the Islanders refused to go quietly, and Will Nelson heated up from the outside, knocking down three consecutive shots from behind the arc to cut the lead to 56-41. The Islanders kept battling away, finally getting the game into single digits again on a James King three at the 5:05 mark.

The Islanders continued to chip away, cutting the deficit to as little as seven in the final minute. But in the end, the Aggies converted their free-throw attempts and held on for the 77-68 win.

The Islanders return to action on Sunday, Nov. 25, when they will take on the University of Houston on Stripes Court at the American Bank Center. Tip time is set for 2 p.m. CT, and the game will be televised live on Comcast Sports Net-Houston. For all the latest on Islanders Basketball, be sure to follow the team on Twitter (@IslandersMBB) and Facebook (IslandersMBB).