SAN MARCOS, Texas – Texas State used a blazing start from the floor to build an early 25-3 lead and never looked back in posting a 79-61 victory over the Texas A&M – Corpus Christi men's basketball team on Wednesday night at Strahan Coliseum. Chris Hawkins-Mast had a double-double with 13 points and 12 boards in a losing effort for the Islanders.
Matt Staff led the way for the Bobcats with 23 points and 11 rebounds, one of four players in double figures for Texas State. Travis Jones added 17 points, going 5-for-9 from downtown, for the Bobcats. Texas State converted 25-of-35 from the free-throw line in the win.
Myron Dempsey added 12 points and nine rebounds for the Islanders, while Jason Smith had 10 points in a losing effort. The Islanders finished 0-for-13 from beyond the arc, the second time this season that the team has gone without a three pointer. The Islanders outscored the Bobcats, 42-33, in the second half.
Early on, the Islanders couldn't buy a bucket and Texas State used a solid press to blast out to a 25-3 lead at the 9:13 mark behind a trio of Jones threes. Staff (six points) and Brooks Ybarra (five) played major roles in the fast start as well. Jake Kocher broke the cold spell, hustling down the floor and behind the defense, converting a traditional three-point play.
A&M – Corpus Christi stemmed the tide for the next several minutes, but the Bobcats' torrid shooting continued. The teams traded points to 36-15, but Texas State added a 6-0 run, highlighted by a four-point play from Wesley Davis. Hameed Ali scored the last six points of the half for the visitors, who entered the locker room down 46-19. The Bobcats went 13-of-27 from the field and 14-of-15 from the line in the stanza.
Early in the second, the two teams traded baskets with Staff and Nate Maxey going blow-for-blow. Staff had the first six points for the Bobcats and Maxey had the first four for the visitors. The Islanders defense showed strong improvement early on in the stanza, forcing five turnovers in the first eight minutes, but the offense was only able to convert that into four points.
After the Bobcats pushed the lead to 54-25, the visitors put together a rally, stringing together a 15-2 run to cut the deficit to 56-39. Hawkins-Mast scored five points to lead the Islanders during the stretch, with Smith providing a spark with his hustle off the bench leading to three points. After an Islanders offensive foul, though, Texas State got off the schneid with a three from Jones, as he and Staff scored the next 12 Bobcats points to put the lead at 68-43.
The Islanders refused to fade, though, putting up a 13-2 run to cut the Bobcats lead to just 14 with 1:55 left. Hawkins-Mast and Dempsey did most of the damage, with the senior providing six points and the junior adding five. But in the end, the early deficit was too much as the home squad finished off the contest at the line to emerge with the victory.
The Islanders return to the hardwood on Saturday, Feb. 18, in the Sears Bracketbusters, as they travel to Mount Pleasant, Mich., to take on Central Michigan. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. ET/6 p.m. CT. Steven King will have the call on NewsRadio 1360 KKTX and GoIslanders.com starting at 5:45 p.m. CT with the Navy/Army Community Credit Union Pregame Show.