Men's Basketball Downs HBU, Takes Sole Possession of Second Place

CORPUS CHRISTI – John Jordan scored 22 points and Zane Knowles snagged 17 rebounds as the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi men's basketball team upended Houston Baptist, 65-45, on Saturday at the American Bank Center. The victory, coupled with Sam Houston State's loss at Oral Roberts, moved the Islanders (15-14, 12-4 Southland) into sole possession of second place.

Joy Williamson (11) and Rashawn Thomas (10) each finished in double figures in the victory, while Knowles added a career-high six blocks as well. The Islanders held HBU (6-23, 2-14) to 16-for-54 (.296) shooting and forced the Huskies into 18 turnovers. Rob Lewis was the only player to finish in double figures for Houston Baptist, posting 10 points.

A&M-Corpus Christi got out to a fast start, with Brandon Pye's jumper at 19:38 starting an 11-2 run to open the ballgame. Jeff Beverly scored six straight points during the rally, and Cole Martinez capped the run with a three. The Islanders pushed the lead to 10, 15-5, on a Williamson tip-in at the 13:47 mark.

Neither team did much on the offensive end over the next several minutes, with the Islanders holding a 24-13 lead after a Marcel Smith three at the 6:10 mark. A&M-Corpus Christi then went on a 14-2 run, with both Hameed Ali and Jordan knocking down triples, and Williamson capping off the rally with a slam dunk with 11 seconds remaining. Lewis knocked down a three for HBU at the buzzer to send the home squad to the locker room with a 38-18 advantage.

The Islanders defense had a tremendous opening half, holding the Huskies to 7-for-25 from the field and forcing HBU into 13 turnovers. Knowles was a beast on the defensive glass, pulling in 11 defensive boards for the Islanders.

The Islanders pushed the lead back to 23 on a Thomas fast-break dunk with 14:13 to play that made it 46-23. The teams traded blows over the next several possessions to a 51-30 advantage for the home squad, but HBU then embarked on an 8-0 run, culminating with a three-point play by Tyler Russell to make it 51-38 with 6:18 to play.

But that was as close as the Huskies would get, as the Islanders bounced back with six straight points to pull ahead by 19, and stretched the advantage to as much as 22 in the closing minutes, before Cody Joyce's layup with 32 seconds to play resulted in the final margin.

The Islanders will close out the regular season with a pair of games at the American Bank Center next week, starting on Thursday against McNeese State, as tipoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. For tickets, call 825-BALL or purchase them online at GoIslanders.com.

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