February 14, 2013

Men's Basketball Wins Second Straight, 75-68 over UCA

CONWAY, Ark. – Hameed Ali had a career-high 18 points to lead four players in double figures, as the Texas A&M – Corpus Christi men's basketball team won its second straight game, 75-68, over Central Arkansas on Thursday at the Farris Center. The Islanders got 34 points from their bench in the victory.

Will Nelson added 14 points, while Johnathan Jordan had 11 and Dale Francis posted a career-high 10 in the win. Ali tallied six assists, two steals and a block to go with his 7-for-10 shooting on the night. Jordan added six dimes of his own as the Islanders had a season-high 20 assists in the game. The sophomore also added seven rebounds to lead the visitors, who won the battle of the boards, 36-33.

LaQuentin Miles led all scorers with 20 points, while Robert Crawford had 15 and Jarvis Garner added 14 to place three players in double figures in a losing effort. Miles added eight boards to lead the Bears.

In a first half that featured four ties and 11 lead changes, the two squads traded points nearly every possession, with an Ali free throw tying the game at 15-all. Garner and Miles did the bulk of the early damage, each scoring four points, while Nelson had six straight Islanders points at one point during that stretch.

A Crawford three from the corner put the Bears up 18-15 with 9:15 remaining in the opening stanza. After an Ali jumper, Miles drilled a triple to put UCA up four at 21-17, their largest lead to that point in the back-and-forth contest. For every Islanders basket, there came a UCA response, but the Islanders fought back to tie the game 28-all on a Nate Maxey dunk. The Bears pushed the lead back to 34-30, but the Islanders finished the half on a 7-2 run to take a one-point lead to the locker room after Brandon Pye knocked down a jumper on a putback to make it 37-36.

Out of the break, the Islanders scored the first four points en route to stringing together a 14-4 run to open an 11-point lead. Joy Williamson got the final five points of the run, converting a long two and then adding a three from the corner to make it 51-40. Ali (5) and Francis (4) had the rest of the points during the Islanders' rally.

The Bears punched back with a 7-1 run to trim the deficit to 52-47. But after the teams traded baskets to make it 54-49, the Islanders ran off eight straight points to balloon the lead to 13. Ali was the architect, hitting a jumper, getting a steal, drilling a three, snatching another steal and finally finishing the rally with a feed to Maxey on an alley-oop that made it 62-49. A Jordan jumper at the 6:37 mark made it 64-52.

But UCA refused to go quietly, putting together an 11-2 run to trim the deficit to just three, the final blow a three-point play by Miles that made it 66-63. Jordan hit two free throws with 1:34 left, and after Crawford came up empty on a three, Nelson delivered a huge three from the top of the key to push the lead to 71-63. From there the Islanders got four free throws from Jordan to close out the victory.

The Islanders continue their road trip with a contest at Oral Roberts on Saturday night. Tipoff is set for approximately 7:30 p.m. in Tulsa. Steven King will have the call of the game live on NewsRadio 1360 KKTX starting at 7:15 with the pregame show. For all the latest on Islanders Basketball, follow the team on Twitter (@IslandersMBB) and Facebook (IslandersMBB).