November 16, 2013

Men's Basketball's Rally Falls Just Short, 62-60

CORPUS CHRISTI – The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi men's basketball team rallied from a 10-point deficit to have a shot to send the game to overtime, but Hameed Ali's jumper fell just short in the closing seconds, as Tennessee Tech topped the Islanders, 62-60. The game marked the second day of the Holiday Inn Downtown Marina Islanders Basketball Tournament at the American Bank Center.

John Jordan and Jeff Beverly each poured in 18 points for the home squad in a losing effort. Jordan also snared nine rebounds, and Ali added 12 points as well for the Islanders.

Dwan Caldwell led the Golden Eagles with 12 points, while Javon McKay and Josiah Moore posted 10 apiece. TTU's bench outscored the Islanders 27-5.

Tennessee Tech came out of the gates with a Ty Allen three-ball off the bat, but the Islanders responded with a 7-0 run, with Beverly doing much of the damage with two free throws and a three-pointer. The Golden Eagles, though, came right back with a 5-0 rally of their own, as Jordan Johnson's triple put them ahead 8-7. A back-and-forth ensued over the next several possessions, with TTU able to push the lead to 15-11 following a pair of McKay free throws.

The Golden Eagles pushed the lead to 20-15 on a Johnson three, but the Islanders responded with a 6-1 run to tie the score, as Knowles' soft layup in the lane rolled in to make it 21 apiece. Tennessee Tech pulled back ahead by five, and held a lead in that range for much of the rest of the half. But the Islanders closed the stanza on a 6-0 run, with four points coming from Beverly and the other two from Jordan, making it a 32-31 Islanders advantage at the break.

Out of the locker room, the teams traded baskets, with a Joy Williamson jumper putting the home squad ahead 34-33. But the Islanders then embarked on a cold stretch on the offensive end. A&M-Corpus Christi went 0-for-9 from the field over the next 11:02, allowing the Golden Eagles to go on a 17-5 run and build a 50-39 advantage. Jordan made three free throws and Ali had two to represent the Islanders' only points during the stretch.

Jordan broke the cold streak with a three from the left wing to cut the deficit back to eight, and after a Tennessee Tech free throw, Cole Martinez buried a trey to cut the lead to 51-45. TTU was able to push the lead back to 10 with 4:28 to play, and at that point the Islanders began to chip away.

A Jordan layup started a 5-0 Islanders run to get it back to a five-point game, and the teams traded points until it was 62-57 with 16 seconds left. Then Ali buried a huge three-pointer from the right wing to make it 62-60. Dennis Ogbe missed both free throws after getting fouled, giving the Islanders a shot to tie or win. But Ali's runner in the final seconds came up short and TTU emerged victorious.

The Islanders shot just 23.8 percent from the field in the second half, but had a chance at the victory due to a 15-for-20 performance at the line in the stanza.

The Islanders will wrap up the Holiday Inn Downtown Marina Islanders Basketball Tournament on Sunday against Texas-Pan American. Tipoff is slated for 3:30 p.m. at the American Bank Center. Tickets are available by calling 825-BALL (2255) or visiting GoIslanders.com.

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