January 4, 2014

Men's Basketball Improves to 2-0 With Victory at ORU

TULSA, Okla. – Zane Knowles and Rashawn Thomas each posted double-doubles as the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi men's basketball team knocked off Oral Roberts, 71-64, on Saturday at the Mabee Center. The Islanders improved to 2-0 in conference play with the victory.

Knowles had 14 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks, while Thomas posted 15 points, 12 boards and two blocks in the win. Brandon Pye added a season-high 13 points. Joy Williamson posted nine points, while John Jordan had seven points and five assists.

Shawn Glover led all scorers with 21 points for the Golden Eagles, while Korey Billbury added 18. The Islanders won the inside game, outrebounding ORU 38-33 and outscoring the Golden Eagles in the paint, 32-20.

Early on, the two teams battled back and forth, with neither team able to gain much of an edge. Billbury and Glover scored the first nine ORU points, but Bobby Word came through with a layup at the 11:41 mark to make it 16-13 in favor of the home squad. The Islanders responded, though, as a Williamson triple sparked a 9-0 run. Hameed Ali had two key buckets in the rally as well, as the visitors pulled ahead 22-16. The Islanders would not relinquish the lead for the remainder of the game.

The Islanders were able to stay the course after the run, retaining a lead between three and seven for the rest of the opening half. Dale Francis finished off the scoring by drilling a three from the right wing that made it 37-31 heading into the locker room.

The opening stanza saw the visitors dominate inside, winning the battle of the boards, 19-10, and points in the paint, 18-8. Knowles posted eight points and five boards, while Thomas had six points and seven rebounds.

Out of the break, the teams traded baskets, but the Islanders followed that with an 8-1 run anchored by Pye, who hit a pair of threes and added a fast-break layup to score all eight points of the rally. But ORU cut into the lead, making it 49-38 with 15 minutes remaining.

At that point, the Golden Eagles embarked on a 12-3 run to cut the lead to just three, 53-50, as Glover's three capped off the rally. But Knowles came through huge, finishing off a three-point play to stem the tide. However, Billbury responded with a three-point play of his own, making it 56-53 at the 9:51 mark.

The Islanders defense stiffened at that juncture, shutting out the Golden Eagles over the next 3:37, while the offense converted five shots at the free-throw line to push the lead to 61-53. ORU kept coming, but for every Golden Eagle attack, there was an Islanders response, as Shawn Glover's layup at 3:14 made it 67-61.

The Islanders got three consecutive stops on the defensive end, and Thomas' layup with 54 seconds left pushed the lead to nine. From there, the Islanders were able to limit the Golden Eagles to three free throws the rest of the way to pick up the victory. A&M-Corpus Christi held ORU to 0-for-7 from the field over the game's final 3:14.

The Islanders return to the Coastal Bend for their next action, as they will play host to Northwestern State on Thursday, Jan. 9, on Stripes Court at the American Bank Center. Game time is slated for 7:30 p.m. and the contest is sponsored by KRIS 6 News.

For all the latest on Islanders Basketball, be sure to follow the team on Twitter and Instagram (@IslandersMBB) and like the team's official Facebook page (Islanders Mens Basketball).