LAKE CHARLES, La. – Will Nelson scored 24 points and had nine rebounds, but a frenetic comeback fell short for the Texas A&M – Corpus Christi men's basketball team, as it was defeated at the hands of McNeese State, 75-71, on Thursday night. Johnathan Jordan added 17 points and nine assists in the loss for the Islanders (1-12, 0-3 Southland), while McNeese (7-7, 1-3) had four players in double figures.
The Islanders committed just seven turnovers in the game against 12 assists, and garnered six steals as well. It marked the fourth time this season that the Islanders have been under 10 turnovers. A&M – Corpus Christi went 22-of-27 at the line overall, including a 12-for-13 mark from Jordan. Nate Maxey had six points in the closing minutes for the Islanders.
Desharick Guidry led the Cowboys with 16 points and nine rebounds, while Ledrick Eackles came off the bench to post 15 points. Kevin Hardy (14 points, 10 rebounds, six assists) and Craig McFerrin (11 points, nine rebounds) also finished in double figures.
Out of the gate, the Islanders started red-hot from distance, knocking down their first five threes to open up a 23-17 lead. Nelson scored nine of the team's first 14 points, and threes by Hameed Ali, Joy Williamson and Cole Martinez helped the squad to the early cushion. McNeese State was able to keep themselves in the game, though, with their performance on the offensive boards, scoring 10 of their first 20 points on second chances.
But after Martinez's three made it 23-17, the Cowboys battled back, posting a 16-6 run to move into the lead at 33-29. McNeese was able to push the pace off several Islanders misses, converting in the paint to move ahead in the game. But the Islanders stayed right with the Cowboys, holding the ball down one in the closing seconds of the half. Jordan drove to the hoop and got a foul call, but missed the front end of the 1-and-1 – his only missed free throw of the night –and on the other end, Hardy drained an off-balance three at the buzzer to send McNeese to the break up 39-35.
The Islanders started cold from the field out of the half, and the Cowboys started with an 8-2 run to push the lead to a game-high 10 at 47-37. But the Islanders refused to wilt. After McNeese pushed its lead to 50-40, the Islanders embarked on a 10-2 run to cut the lead to two points at 52-50. Brandon Pye delivered a key three in the run and Dale Francis added a layup to help rally the Islanders.
The Cowboys responded, though, as an Eackles three launched an 11-2 run to re-establish a double-digit lead at 63-52. After pushing it to 65-54, the Islanders rallied once again. The road squad went on an 8-0 run, helped along the way by a putback and a thunderous alley-oop by Maxey to make it 65-62. The two teams went back-and-forth over the next several minutes, and after another Maxey dunk, the Islanders got a turnover to hold the ball down four with less than a minute to play. But the visitors missed three looks at three pointers, and could get no closer than three before the closing whistle.
The Islanders remain on the road on Saturday night, as they will take on Lamar. Tipoff in Beaumont is slated for approximately 6 p.m. and the game will be carried live on NewsRadio 1360 KKTX with Adam Spolane on the call.