CORPUS CHRISTI – John Jordan's jumper with 4.2 seconds remaining lifted the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi men's basketball team to a 72-71 victory over IPFW on the first day of the Holiday Inn Downtown Marina Islanders Basketball Tournament. Jordan scored a career-high 28 points in the victory, which lifted the Islanders to 2-1.
Hameed Ali added 13 points and Joy Williamson scored a season-best 12 to go along with eight rebounds in the win. The Mastodons (1-2) had four players finish in double figures, led by Joe Edwards' 19.
The back-and-forth affair featured 12 ties and 23 lead changes.
Early in the game, IPFW worked the inside for a 13-6 lead. Steve Forbes did the bulk of the damage, following a dunk with a layup inside to put the visitors up seven. But the Islanders came right back, as triples by Dale Francis and Ali trimmed the deficit to one. A jumper by Ali followed after a pair of defensive stops, and the Islanders held their first lead, 14-13, at the 10:13 mark.
From that point until the half, the game was a back and forth tussle. The largest lead for either team was three points, and over the final 8:37, the contest featured five tie scores. A three-point play by Williamson with nine seconds left in the stanza gave the home squad a 33-32 lead heading to the break.
Out of the locker room, the Islanders jumped on the Mastadons, and a three-point play by Jordan gave the home squad its largest lead of the night at 36-32. But that's when Isaiah McCray caught fire. The diminutive guard hit three consecutive shots from behind the arc for a 9-0 run of his own, and a layup from Pierre Bland made it an 11-0 IPFW run and a seven-point advantage.
After the teams traded points to a 49-43 IPFW lead, the Islanders mounted a 5-0 run, with Williamson and Jordan doing the damage to make it a one-point game at the 10:57 mark. IPFW was able to push its lead back to four on a pair of occasions, the second on a three-ball for Mo Evans at the 8:13 mark.
But the home squad was able to slowly chip away, and a three-point play by Jordan at the 7:18 mark put the Islanders up 59-57. Williamson followed with a layup of his own, as the Islanders took a four-point lead. But IPFW came storming back, going on a 6-1 lead to push ahead by a point, 63-62, with 5:12 remaining.
From that point on, the game somehow took an even greater back-and-forth tone. Over the final 5:49, neither team held an advantage larger than one and the lead changed 10 times in that span. After a Knowles layup put the Islanders up by a point, IPFW came right back and got a layup by Bland to gain a 71-70 lead.
Jordan tried to drive on the ensuing possession, but was denied, and the Mastodons had a chance to run down the clock into the closing seconds. Ali made a brilliant play to create a turnover with less than 15 seconds remaining, setting up Jordan's heroics on the final play. The Islanders defense was able to hold IPFW without a shot on its final effort.
The Islanders will take on Tennessee Tech tomorrow in the second day of the Holiday Inn Downtown Marina Islanders Basketball Tournament at 5:30. The Golden Eagles fell in a heartbreaker to Texas-Pan American, 81-78 on a three at the buzzer, in today's early action. UTPA and IPFW will take the court at 3:00.
Tickets for both games are available at GoIslanders.com or by calling 825-BALL. For all the latest on Islanders Basketball be sure to follow the team on Twitter (@IslandersMBB).