January 24, 2013

Nicholls Staves Off Islanders' Charge in 69-62 Victory

THIBODAUX, La. – A late charge by the Texas A&M – Corpus Christi men's basketball team was not enough, as Nicholls held on for a 69-62 victory on Thursday at Stopher Gym. Johnathan Jordan had 18 points and five assists, while Will Nelson had a double-double (15 points, 11 rebounds) in a losing effort.

The Islanders trailed by as many as 17 points with 11:32 to play, but were able to trim the deficit to six in less than five minutes of game clock. Nicholls (5-12, 4-3 Southland) was able to stave off the rally, though, holding on for the seven-point victory.

Fred Hunter led the way for the Colonels with 19 points on 8-for-10 shooting, while Jeremy Smith (11) and Dantrell Thomas (15) also made their way into double figures. The home squad shot 50 percent from the field (25-for-50) in the win.

The Islanders committed a season-high 20 turnovers in the loss, five of them on offensive fouls. The visitors went 21-for-28 at the free-throw line, but just 11-for-18 in the closing minutes. A&M – Corpus Christi won the battle of the boards, 36-29,

The Islanders opened the game up 4-2, but Nicholls responded with a 7-0 run featuring a pair of triples by Hunter to take a 9-4 lead. The Islanders countered with four points in a row to trim the deficit to one before a Hunter putback made the score 11-8.

At that juncture, both teams went cold, with the score remaining the same until Cole Martinez drained a long two at the 10:04 mark to make it 11-10. From there, the teams traded runs, with Nicholls scoring six straight points and the Islanders netting five in a row. The Colonels then went on an 11-2 run to open their largest lead of the game at 28-17. Nicholls pushed its lead to 31-19 after a Pedro Maciel three, but Martinez drilled a three at the halftime buzzer to make it 31-22 at the break.

Nicholls scored the first four points of the second half to push the lead to 35-22, but the Islanders responded with a quick five points, two at the line from Hameed Ali and three for James King, to make it 35-27. The Colonels, though, responded with a 9-0 run highlighted by a three-point play from Thomas to push the advantage to 44-27 with 11:30 left in regulation.

The Islanders snapped the run with a traditional three-point play from Jordan at the 10:38 mark. But as the visitors heated up from the field, so did the home squad, countering every Islanders punch. After two free throws from Thomas, the Colonels pushed their lead back to 54-40 with 7:36 remaining in regulation.

A&M – Corpus Christi then went on a 9-1 run after stepping up its defensive pressure to trim the lead to just six. A Nelson three and a Jelani Currie layup were the highlights as the Islanders cut the deficit to 55-49. From there on, the game repeatedly fluctuated back and forth, with the lead going between six and 10 points. The Islanders' final charge ran out when Nelson's three came up short in the closing seconds, as Nicholls held on for the victory.

The Islanders will continue their Louisiana road swing with a game in Hammond at Southeastern Lousiana on Saturday, Jan. 26. Tipoff is slated for approximately 4:30 p.m. at the University Center. Yannis Koutroupis will have the call of the game on NewsRadio 1360 KKTX starting at 4:15 with the pregame.