February 28, 2013

Men's Basketball Rides Hot Shooting Night to 78-64 Win

CORPUS CHRISTI – Will Nelson scored 23 points and Johnathan Jordan added 21 as the Texas A&M – Corpus Christi men's basketball team used its best offensive night of the season to post a 78-64 win over Southeastern Louisiana on Thursday night on Stripes Court at the American Bank Center. The Islanders shot 26-for-43 (60.5 percent) from the field in the victory.

In addition to Jordan and Nelson, Zane Knowles added 12 points on 6-for-7 shooting, while Nelson was just a rebound shy of a double-double. Jordan led the Islanders with six assists in the contest, as he shot 8-for-9 from the field, his lone blemish a shot just before the shot clock buzzer in the closing minute.

Roosevelt Johnson led the way for the visitors with 15 points and nine rebounds, while Dre Evans added 14 and Jeffery Ricard posted 13. The Lions were 11-for-20 from downtown in the contest.

Early on, the upperclassmen were carrying the offensive load, with Nelson and Knowles scoring all of the Islanders' first 12 points to lift the home squad to a 12-8 lead. Southeastern Louisiana bounced back to tie the score at 12, but Jordan knocked down a three and added a jumper to push the lead back to five. But the visitors put together an 11-2 run to garner a 23-19 lead on a Todd Nelson jumper that forced an Islanders timeout with 7:55 left before the break.

Joy Williamson and Nelson traded threes to make it 26-22, then the Islanders ran off five straight points at the free-throw line, the final three coming from Cole Martinez after he was fouled on a triple, to make it 27-26 Islanders. The two teams sparred back and forth with the visitors holding a 30-27 lead, when the Islanders closed the half on an 8-0 run on the back of Jelani Currie.

The freshman knocked down a three from the corner with 1:28 left to tie the game at 30, then drew a charge at the other end. A Nelson layup put the Islanders up two and he also drew a charge of his own to give the home squad the ball back. Currie then rose up again, knocking down a triple from the right wing just before the buzzer to make it 35-30 at the half.

Out of the break, the Islanders pushed the lead to seven on a tip-in by Knowles that made it 37-30. From there, the teams battled back and forth over the next several minutes, with the Lions trimming it to four at 44-40 with 14:04 left. But after a Lions turnover, Jordan knocked down a three and the Islanders pushed the lead back to seven.

For the next seven minutes, the lead stayed between six and 10, with a Ricard three making it 60-53 with 7:15 remaining. The Islanders then went on a 10-0 run over the next 3:38, culminating with a Jordan jumper that pushed the lead to 70-53 with 3:37 to play. During the rally, the Islanders defense held Southeastern to 0-for-3 shooting, getting the defensive board each time and converting on the offensive end. The Lions snapped the skein with an Onochie Ochie three, but would get no closer than 12 the rest of the way, as the Islanders finished off the victory.

The Islanders are back in action on Saturday night, for their final home game of the season against Nicholls. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. on Stripes Court at the American Bank Center. Island level tickets are available for the game for just $5 by calling 825-BALL (2255) or visiting the tickets link at GoIslanders.com.