LAKE CHARLES, La. – The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi men's basketball team hot streak continued on Saturday, as the Islanders won 77-68 on the road at McNeese State to improve to 11-3 overall and 2-0 in Southland Conference play.
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"The message to the guys after this game was that we're going to get everybody's best shot," Head Coach Willis Wilson said. "Those guys played well. Give Dave Simmons and his team credit."
The Cowboys (2-11, 0-3) did play well. In fact, thanks to shooting 13-of-26 from the floor and holding the Islanders to just 11-of-30, they were leading the Islanders 38-36 at halftime.
The second half, however, was a different story. The Blue and Green came out and used a 22-4 run in the first 11 minutes of the frame to take a 60-46 lead midway through the period. The Cowboys scored just eight points in the first 11:30 of the second half.
"Again, for us, it was second half defense," Wilson said. "That stretch when we were able to go on a run, it was all about defense. The thing that went hand-and-hand with that was our offensive execution."
Senior Brandon Pye was integral during the second half run, scoring 13 of his 19 points during the stretch. The long distance sharpshooter went 7-of-10 from the field, hitting only one from beyond the arc. Pye was lethal from mid-range on Saturday, coming off screens to knock down shot after shot in the second half.
For the seventh time this season though, it was junior Rashawn Thomas who carried the load offensively. He led the Islanders with 28 points, despite picking up two fouls in the first five minutes of action.
"He really allowed us to ride him when we needed him," Wilson said of Thomas. "And when you can put him and Brandon Pye on the floor together and they're both having it going, it really makes it tough on the defense."
Thomas went 7-of-12 from the floor and 14-of-16 from the free throw line. The junior forward added 11 rebounds to record his fourth double-double of the season. He is fourth all-time at A&M-Corpus Christi with 16 career double-doubles.
The Cowboys chipped away at the Islanders' second half lead, getting as close as six points multiple times, but the Blue and Green held on for the 77-68 victory. The Islanders have now won 10 of their last 11 games, extending their program-best start to the season.
Senior Hameed Ali added 11 points, four assists and two steals in the win, while Bryce Douvier, Ehab Amin and Dale Francis each chipped in with five points for the Islanders.
A&M-Corpus Christi will continue their Southland Conference road trip Monday at Lamar. The Islanders and the Cardinals are set to tip-off at 8 p.m. with coverage on the American Sports Network and the Islanders Digital Network.
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