DENVER – Denver rode the strength of 11 three-pointers to deliver the Texas A&M – Corpus Christi men's basketball team a 68-51 defeat on Wednesday night at Magness Arena. Hameed Ali led the Islanders (1-1), matching a career high with 15 points in a losing effort, while Chris Udofia led the Pioneers (1-1) with 17.
Johnathan Jordan had 10 points and four assists for the Islanders, while Will Nelson added 12 points and five rebounds. Brett Olson posted 11 points and six boards for DU, which had seven players hit shots from behind the arc. The Pioneers busted the game open with a 15-0 run early in the second half to collect the victory in their home opener.
Early on, Denver took an early 10-6 lead on the strength of six points from Udofia. But the Islanders locked in defensively, putting together an 8-0 run, largely on the strength of three forced turnovers, to take a 14-10 lead at the 10:57 media timeout. Jordan was the catalyst, scoring six straight Islanders points at one point. But Nate Engesser spoiled that, hitting two straight threes to put the home squad back up, 16-14.
The two teams went back-and-forth for several possessions, with the Islanders staying close at 20-19. But three-balls from Cam Griffin and Olson pushed the lead to 26-19. The Islanders trimmed it to a 28-23 game, but Jalen Love closed the half with a three-ball from the corner to result in a 31-23 halftime score. DU went 7-for-17 from downtown to provide the difference in the opening stanza.
Out of the break, the Islanders struck first with a Nate Maxey putback to trim it to a six-point game. But then the Pioneers caught fire, burying four straight threes for a 12-0 run to go up 43-25. Udofia added a basket and a free throw to push the run to 15-0, giving Denver a 21-point edge.
Joy Williamson snapped a scoreless string of 6:14 with a three-pointer from the left wing to cut into the lead. The Islanders slowly chipped away at the DU advantage, using a 15-8 run to cut the lead to 58-43, with eight of those points coming from Ali. But that was as close as the Islanders would get, with DU finishing off the 68-51 victory.
The Islanders remain on the road for a Saturday night matchup in Logah, Utah, with the Utah State Aggies. Game time is set for 7:05 MT/8:05 CT and can be heard live on NewsRadio 1360 KKTX with Yannis Koutroupis on the call. Live updates will also be available on Twitter (@IslandersMBB) throughout the contest.