CORPUS CHRISTI – Chris Hawkins-Mast scored 17 points and Terence Jones added 16, but Sam Houston State overcame a late 49-48 deficit and finished the game on a 13-4 run to knock off the Texas A&M – Corpus Christi men's basketball team, 61-53, on Saturday at the American Bank Center. Steven Werner had 23 points and 12 boards for the Bearkats (10-15, 4-7 Southland).
Johnathan Jordan matched his career high with nine assists for the Islanders (4-20, 3-8) in a losing effort, while Nate Maxey had five blocks as well. Konner Tucker (14 points) and Darius Gatson (10) finished in double figures for SHSU.
The Bearkats won the battle of the boards, 37-34, though the Islanders held a slight edge from the field, shooting 40.4 percent to Sam Houston's 40. A&M – Corpus Christi committed 14 turnovers to SHSU's nine, with eight of the Islanders' turnovers coming on offensive fouls.
The game started as a defensive struggle, with the teams tied 4-4 at the 12:30 mark, the Bearkats took their first lead with a triple from the right corner by Tucker to make it 7-4. A pair of free throws stretched it to 9-4, but Jones thwarted the rally with a three-point play to make it 9-7.
That started a 14-2 run to give the Islanders an 18-11 lead, culminating with three-balls from Jones and Jake Kocher, the latter forcing a Bearkat timeout with 5:05 to play in the half. Demarcus Gatlin snapped the run with a three after the timeout, and that sparked an 11-2 rally for the visitors to give them the lead back at 22-20. Chris Hawkins-Mast broke that run with a three-point play, but a Werner putback closed the first-half scoring with SHSU up 24-23 at the break.
Out of the locker room, the two teams went back-and-forth, with a Jones three tying the game at 28-28 with 17:38 remaining. After the score went to 30-30, Tucker delivered another three, sparking a 9-1 run to push the Bearkat advantage to 39-31. After a Maxey dunk, Tucker got free on a wicked screen by Werner, burying a three for a 42-33 lead.
Hawkins-Mast knocked down a three to cut it back to six, and a Jones three followed to make it 42-39. Jones later added a free throw and Hawkins-Mast added two more at the line to tie the score at 42. A Jordan jumper in the lane pushed the run to 11-0 for the Islanders' first lead (44-42) since 30-28. Two free throws by Darius Gatson tied the score again, 44-44 with 7:24 left.
That started a back-and-forth over the next two minutes, with the teams trading leads to a 51-49 Bearkat advantage after a Gatson three from the top of the key. An Aaron Harwell jumper pushed the lead to four, but Jordan responded with a jumper over Antuan Bootle to make it 53-51 SHSU. A Werner layup pushed the lead back to 55-51, and after a stop, Werner got a wild offensive rebound and put it back to push the lead to 57-51 with 54.3 seconds left. Jones was then whistled for offensive fouls on back-to-back possessions, and the Bearkats were able to hit their free throws down the stretch to finish off the contest.
The Islanders are back in action on Wednesday night, when they travel to San Marcos for a matchup with Texas State. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at Strahan Coliseum. Steven King will have the call on NewsRadio 1360 KKTX and GoIslanders.com, starting at 6:45 with the Navy/Army Community Credit Union Pregame Show.