CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi men's basketball team defeated Austin Peay 74-70 at the Winfield Dunn Center Monday night to improve to 9-3 on the season. It tied the best 12-game start ever for the Islanders, matching the 2004-05 team's 9-3 start to the year.
RELATED: Box Score (xml) | Box Score (pdf) | Interviews/Highlights | Photos
"Anytime you go into conference play, you want to go in on a high note, feeling like you don't have a lot of things you need to fix," Head Coach Willis Wilson said. "You've got momentum. You've got some things you can hang your hat on."
Redshirt senior Hameed Ali was playing with momentum all night long, finishing with a career high 26 points on a career high four three-pointers. The point guard was terrific on both sides of the ball, adding four assists and four steals, while going 10-of-11 from the free throw line.
"The offense that we saw out of Hameed was kind of what we've expected out of him all year," Wilson said. "It was nice to see him get his rhythm. I thought he took his time a lot more tonight. Sometimes knocking down that first one is all it takes to get him going."
Ali topped his previous best of 21, set at UTSA back on Nov. 23, 2013. Ali came into Monday's game atop the Southland Conference and ranked ninth in the nation with 2.73 steals per game. His four against the Govs give him 139 for his career, the fourth most in Islanders history.
The Islanders swept the season series with the Govs, having won 61-48 in Corpus Christi earlier this month. The story coming into the second match-up of 2015-16 was that of the teams' big men. Islander junior Rashawn Thomas leads his team in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots and Austin Peay's Chris Horton was averaging over 18 points and 13 rebounds coming into Monday's contest.
Thomas came out the winner on the scoreboard and on the floor, totaling 23 points, eight rebounds and three blocks. It was the 11th double figure scoring game of the season for the forward and the 12th 20-point game of his career.
The Islanders held Horton to just 11 points, eight rebounds and no blocked shots. He came in ranked second in the nation in rebounding and leading all of NCAA with 11 double-doubles.
"Horton is a really tough match and it takes five guys to defend him," Wilson said. "I thought Dale Francis gave us good minutes. Bryce Douvier gave us good minutes. Rashawn gave us good minutes, but the supporting cast did a good job of playing help side defense and just limiting his touches."
A&M-Corpus Christi shot 46.4 percent from the floor and 36.8 percent from beyond the arc, while the Governors shot 40.4 percent from the field and only 20.0 percent from three-point range.
The Islanders will next return home to begin Southland Conference play. The Blue and Green hosts Central Arkansas Jan. 5 at the American Bank Center.
To keep up with everything Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Men's Basketball, follow the Islanders on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.