Islanders Fall to Rockets, 80-68
TOLEDO, Ohio – Johnathan Jordan scored a career-high 22 points, but Toledo scored 35 of its 80 points at the free-throw line in knocking off the Texas A&M – Corpus Christi men's basketball team 80-68 on Wednesday night at John F. Savage Arena. Rian Pearson led all scorers with 30 points – earning 16 at the stripe for the Rockets.
A&M – Corpus Christi was whistled for 34 team fouls, as the Rockets went 35-for-46 from the line, including 27-for-34 after the half. Julius Brown added 16 points and Reese Holliday posted 12 in an 8-for-8 night at the stripe.
Joy Williamson scored 10 points on 4-for-9 shooting, while Zane Knowles added a career-best nine points and nabbed eight rebounds. The Islanders won the battle of the boards, 35-34. The Islanders held Toledo to 4-of-18 shooting after the break.
Early on, the two teams traded points back-and-forth, with the Islanders holding a 9-8 lead. Five of the visitors' first seven points came from Jordan, while the Rockets got all of their first eight points from Pearson. But the rest of the UT squad heated up at that point, embarking on a 10-0 run to open up a nine-point advantage at 18-9.
From there, the Rockets and Islanders stayed even, with the home squad keeping the lead at nine at 29-20. UT then got 3-of-4 free throws on a crucial personal and technical foul call to push the lead to 12, and were able to counter every punch the Islanders delivered to enter the locker room with a 44-30 lead. Pearson had 18 of the UT points before the break.
Out of the half, Toledo used a decided free-throw advantage to embark on a 13-5 run and push their lead to a game-high 22 at 57-35. The Rockets scored nine of their first 16 points of the half at the line to bolster their offensive efforts. The biggest bright spot early in the half was Jordan, who scored eight of his team's first 16 points after the break.
After the lead advanced to 59-37, the road team began its comeback. A 19-8 rally cut the lead to 11 points at 67-56, with Jordan doing most of the damage. The sophomore scored 10 points in the rally and assisted on two of the Islanders' other three baskets in the run. The Islanders continued to chip away at the deficit, getting it to single digits on a pair of free throws by Hameed Ali. A&M – Corpus Christi got to within eight on a pair of free throws from Jordan with 1:08 to play, but that was as close as the road squad would get as Toledo finished off the 12-point win.
The Islanders remain on the road this weekend with a contest at Iowa on Saturday at noon at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Yannis Koutroupis will have the call on NewsRadio 1360 KKTX starting at 11:45 a.m. with the pregame. Updates will also be provided on the Islanders Men's Basketball Twitter feed (@IslandersMBB).