CORPUS CHRISTI – The Texas A&M - Corpus Christi men's basketball team used a late rally to pull within three with 26 seconds to play, but Denver (2-0) hit its free throws down the stretch to tally a 65-58 victory over the Islanders on Monday night. The Islanders (0-2) were powered by four players in double figures, including a career-high 17 points and seven rebounds from Myron Dempsey.
Johnathan Jordan added 12 points and three steals and Terence Jones chipped in 11 points and three assists for the Islanders. Chris Hawkins-Mast had his third double-digit scoring night with 10 points and seven rebounds, while Nate Maxey had his second-straight game with four blocks in the loss.
Brian Stafford (25 points) and Chris Udofia (12 points, six blocks) led the Pioneers. The Islanders topped the Pioneers on the glass, 31-27, and in steals, 7-4. Texas A&M - Corpus Christi's bench outscored Denver's, 27-17.
The Pioneers jumped out to an 8-2 lead early, but back-to-back threes by TJones tied the game, and a layup by Dempsey gave the Islanders their first lead at the 15:00 mark. A brilliant Nate Maxey dunk on an alley-oop from Jordan gave the Islanders a 12-11 lead with 13:43 to go. The two teams traded buckets back and forth for the rest of the half, and the Islanders held on to the edge until the final seconds. But Chase Hallam banked in a half-court shot at the buzzer to put the Pioneers ahead 33-31 heading into halftime.
The Pioneers shot 6-for-12 on three-point shooting in the first half. Stafford led Denver with 15 points while Hallam added nine. Jones and Dempsey led the Islanders with 10 points apiece at the half and Hawkins-Mast added seven.
The tête-a-tête continued out of the break when Hawkins-Mast's three trimmed the deficit to 42-41. That's when DU went on its pivotal run, a 15-2 rally, to push the lead to a game-high 14 with 5:07 to play.
But the Islanders refused to wilt, using defensive pressure and quality shots to drum up a 10-0 run for a 57-53 score with 1:02 to play. Jordan had two steals and eight points in the rally. But Udofia had the counter, putting in a layup on a defensive breakdown to stop the run. Dempsey went to the line with the Islanders down four, and hit 1-of-2 to trim the deficit to 59-56 with 26 ticks on the clock, but Udofia and Stafford went 6-for-6 from the stripe in the final 17 seconds to seal the victory.
The Islanders continue their home slate Tuesday, Nov. 22, against Utah State. Tip-off is tentatively slated for 7:30 p.m. at the American Bank Center. The game will follow the Islanders women's game against Iona, which tips at 5 p.m. Tickets are just $12 for the Turkey Tuesday Two-fer, and are available at GoIslanders.com or by calling 825-BALL (2255).