NATCHITOCHES, La. – Chris Hawkins-Mast scored 21 points and grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds, but Northwestern State outdueled the Texas A&M – Corpus Christi men's basketball team in an 82-68 victory on Saturday at Prather Coliseum. Terence Jones added 21 points and Jason Smith had a career-best 12 in a losing effort.
Louis Ellis led the way with 17 points for the Demons (14-9, 7-2 Southland), who maintained their hold on first place on the East Division of the conference with the win. Shamir Davis (15) and James Hulbin (14) finished in double figures as well. William Mosley had nine boards and four blocks for NSU.
The Islanders (4-18, 3-7) shot an even 40 percent for the game, both overall and from downtown. NSU had a strong day from the field, hitting 28-of-57 (49.1 percent) and 10-of-21 (47.6) from beyond the arc. A&M – Corpus Christi delivered an impressive performance on the offensive boards with 14, winning the rebound battle 41-34.
The two teams battled back-and-forth in a high-paced game early on, with the Islanders taking a 7-6 lead. But NSU went on a 7-0 run at that point, led by Shamir Davis and Louis Ellis, to grab a 13-7 advantage they would never surrender. The Islanders struck with four straight points to make it 13-11, but Northwestern State added an 8-2 run to regain an eight-point edge at 21-13.
They pushed the advantage to 25-15, but the Islanders came back with a thunderous 7-0 run to cut the lead to three, capped by a triple from Jones from the left corner. From there, the two teams continued to go blow-for-blow, with neither team mounting much of a rally. With the score 38-34 in favor of NSU, though, the Demons finished the opening half on an 8-1 run to take an 11-point lead into the half.
The rally continued out of the break, as Northwestern State jumped out with a 10-2 run, led by eight straight points from Gary Roberson, to push the lead to 56-37 at the 15:35 mark. But the Islanders responded with an 8-0 run of their own, featuring three-balls from Jason Smith and Jones back-to-back, to trim it to 56-45. The Islanders continued to deliver on offense, but NSU heated up from the field, parrying every A&M – Corpus Christi rally to make the score 67-56.
But NSU took the momentum after a thunderous Hawkins-Mast dunk, as Ellis nailed a three and Roberson followed with a fast-break slam of his own to push it to 72-56. The Demons pushed the lead to as much as 19, at 80-61, but the Islanders trimmed the deficit by scoring seven of the game's final nine points to finish off the contest.
The Islanders will have just a brief repose, as they return to action on Monday night at Savannah State in a non-conference affair. Game time is tentatively set for 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT, as it will be the second game of a doubleheader, with the SSU women taking on Longwood at 6 p.m. ET. Steven King will have the call on NewsRadio 1360 KKTX and GoIslanders.com.