CORPUS CHRISTI – John Jordan scored or assisted on 25 of the final 26 points for the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi men's basketball team in a dramatic, 74-72 overtime victory over Oral Roberts on Saturday night. Zane Knowles posted a double-double (12 points, 11 rebounds), while Brandon Pye knocked down a crucial three to help the Islanders take control of the extra session.
The Islanders (13-14, 10-4 Southland) solidified their hold on third place in the conference with the victory. Shawn Glover led all scorers, potting 23 for the Golden Eagles (13-13, 7-6) in a losing effort, while Korey Billbury (21 points, nine rebounds) and Brandon Conley (17 points, nine rebounds) each came up just short of a double-double.
ORU looked to be in control midway through the second half, holding a 53-48 lead at the under-8 minute media timeout. But Jordan, and the Islanders, took control at that point. The junior's jumper at 7:36 commenced a quick-hit 6-0 run, as he assisted on the other two baskets of the rally – a dunk by Knowles and a fast-break jumper by Pye – to give the Islanders a 54-53 advantage. After the teams traded baskets, a free throw by Joy Williamson pushed the lead to 57-55 with 4:15 to go.
From there, each team was able to answer the other's punches, to the tune of a 61-61 ballgame after Glover's jumper with 1:45 to play. ORU got a key defensive rebound from Billbury, then Glover hit a pair of free throws to put the visitors ahead 63-61 with 34.8 seconds remaining. After an Islanders timeout with 16.7 on the clock, Jordan drove to his left, elevated and drained a jumper from just outside the key to knot the game with seven seconds left. ORU had a chance at the buzzer, but Jabbar Singleton's triple rimmed out to send the game to OT.
The Golden Eagles struck first in the extra session, with Conley going 1-for-2 at the line. But Jordan came right back with a jumper at 4:15 to put the Islanders back ahead, 65-64. Conley responded with a layup of his own, but then Hameed Ali came up huge, nailing a three from the right corner to put the home squad ahead 68-66 with 3:31 left in OT.
Conley then tied it with a layup at 2:23, then ORU had a chance to take the lead after an Islanders turnover. But Knowles came through with a gigantic block of a Billbury shot, and that sprung A&M-Corpus Christi the other way. Jordan penetrated on the left side, kicked to Pye in the corner, and the sophomore, who entered the game fourth nationally in 3-point percentage, drilled the go-ahead triple that made it 71-68.
Knowles came through again on ORU's next possession, snaring a rebound of a Bobby Word miss, then added a layup with 31 seconds remaining to push the lead to 73-68. ORU got two points back on free throws by Billbury, then Jordan's 1-for-2 performance at the line made it 74-70 with 18.5 seconds remaining. On the ensuing play, Billbury was denied, but Conley crashed for a rebound and a tip-in with 10.2 seconds remaining.
Things then got interesting, as the inbound pass was deflected off Ali's body, giving ORU possession with 9.0 on the clock. The Golden Eagles got the ball to Glover on the right side, but his jumper went off the back rim, and Knowles tipped the rebound toward midcourt as time expired to finalize the Islanders victory. In all, Jordan scored or assisted on 25 of the Islanders' final 26 points.
The Islanders, who struggled in the opening half offensively, were scorching after the break, going 17-for-22 in the second half and overtime combined. Jordan (7-for-8) and Knowles (5-for-6) were the key contributors on offense during that time.
The first half was a back-and-forth affair that featured five ties and six lead changes. The Islanders took a 7-5 lead on Pye's triple at the 15:47 mark, and the two teams traded baskets over the next several possessions, the Islanders holding an 11-9 lead at the 13:00 mark. But ORU scored five straight points to pull ahead by three, pushing the lead to 18-15 on Billbury's layup with 9:45 to go.
The Islanders then mounted their biggest rally of the half, with Rashawn Thomas pouring in six straight points all on his own to give the home squad a 21-18 advantage. The two teams traded baskets over the next couple possessions to push the lead to 23-20. But ORU locked down defensively over the remainder of the half, holding the Islanders without a field goal over the final 7:14 to post an 11-2 run and carry a 31-25 advantage into the break.
Early in the second half, the teams went back-and-forth, the lead holding between two and seven for the first 12 minutes before the home squad posted its crucial rally.
The Islanders will now have the week off before traveling to Houston for a Saturday night matchup with Houston Baptist on Feb. 22. The Islanders and Huskies are slated for a 7:30 p.m. tipoff. Yannis Koutroupis will have the call on NewsRadio 1360 KKTX starting at 7:10 with the pregame.
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