August 29, 2013

Islanders Roll Past Stella Azzurra, 80-50, Wrap Tour 3-1

ROME, Italy – Rashawn Thomas had 17 points and 11 rebounds for his third straight double-double to lead the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi men's basketball team to an 80-50 win over Stella Azzurra on Thursday, Aug. 29. The Islanders wrap up their four games in Italy with a 3-1 record.

Fellow freshman Jeff Beverly posted 13 points for the Islanders, as all 12 players who saw the floor recorded baskets in the contest. Cole Martinez and Joy Williamson each had eight points for A&M-Corpus Christi, which shot 31-for-58 (.534) in the victory. The Islanders outrebounded Azzurra 44-23 as well.

Thomas added four blocks and four steals in the victory for the Islanders, while Zane Knowles had six points and eight rebounds. Jelani Currie added six points and Jake Kocher scored five.

The Islanders started the game on a roll, scoring the first 12 points of the contest to jump out to a double-digit lead in the opening minutes. Currie delivered a three-point play and Martinez knocked down a triple in the rally. Azzurra was able to battle back to bring it as close as seven, but back-to-back baskets by Williamson got it back to double figures, and the Islanders held a 24-16 lead at the end of the first, as Azzurra hit a layup at the buzzer to get it back to eight.

In the second quarter, it started all Islanders once again, as the visitors scored the first 13 points of the frame to balloon the lead to 37-16. A three-point play by Beverly and triples by James King and Brandon Pye were key in the rally. But Stella Azzurra got off the schneid with six straight points, and rallied to trim the deficit to just 13 with a minute left. The Islanders closed the half with the last three points, though, as a Williamson putback sent them to the locker room up 44-28.

The teams came out even in the third, with the Azzurra trimming the lead to 49-37. But the Islanders put together yet another massive run, this one for 13 consecutive points to head into the final quarter ahead by 25, 62-37. Beverly started the rally with a layup and scored six of the team's points in the run. A layup by Williamson capped off the rally in the quarter's final minute.

The Islanders were able to continue the momentum into the fourth, with Thomas leading the way. The freshman had the first basket of the quarter, and went on to score 11 of the Islanders' 18 points in the stanza. Stella Azzurra got no closer than 22 the rest of the way, and A&M-Corpus Christi scored the final eight points to result in a 30-point win.

This concludes the Islanders' four-game, 10-day trip to Rome, as the team will return to the United States on Friday, Aug. 30. The Islanders will begin classes next week and return to the practice court in the coming weeks, leading up to the season-opening Holiday Inn Downtown Marina Islanders Classic against Huston-Tillotson on Nov. 8.

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