CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Scoring 1,000 points in a collegiate basketball career is quite an accomplishment. Scoring your 1,000th point at home amidst a career high 31-point night to lead your team to its sixth straight win is nothing short of magical.
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That was the night Rashawn Thomas had as the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi men's basketball team defeated visiting Nicholls 76-71 Saturday night at the American Bank Center. The junior became the 10th player in Islander history to score over 1,000 points.
"I'm just really happy for him," Head Coach Willis Wilson said of Thomas. "Those are milestones that are not reached alone. I'm sure he'd be the first one to tell you that he's put in a lot of work, but the guys around him have put in a lot of work as well."
"I wasn't really thinking about it while we were playing," Thomas said of knowing he was close to 1,000 points. "I was just trying to play. Then I heard them say it [over the PA system] and I was like 'oh I'm in the 1,000-point club.' I was just thinking about getting the win at the time."
Thomas, who has been named Southland Conference Player of the Week four times already, will be in contention for a fifth after hitting the 30-point mark for the fourth time this season. He added 13 boards in recording his fifth double-double of 2015-16.
The Islanders (13-3, 4-0) have now won six in a row and 12 of their last 13 contests.
"We've had some really exciting, tough, hard-fought battles with Nicholls State in my tenure here, so I really didn't expect anything different," Wilson said. "I don't' think the team expected anything different."
The Blue and Green used a 22-0 run in the first half to take a 29-16 lead over the Colonels with 5:55 to play in the first half. The Islanders then extended their advantage to 19 points twice, before taking a 41-24 lead into the break.
The second half was a completely different story. Nicholls (5-13, 1-3) went on a 10-1 run midway through the frame to cut the Islander lead to just 56-52 with 8:49 to play.
The Colonels got to within two points, at 63-61 on a Ja'Dante' Frye layup with 3:23 to play, but Thomas countered with a jumper and senior Brandon Pye knocked down his fourth three of the game to keep Nicholls at bay.
The Islanders held on for the 76-71 victory as T.J. Carpenter's 30-footer banked in at the buzzer.
"We're getting a lot of hard shots thrown at us from each opponent on any given night," Wilson said. "So to be able to win and continue to keep things rolling at this time of the year is a really good thing."
Pye finished with 14 points and three steals. Senior Hameed Ali had nine assists and just one turnover for the second straight game, adding a game high four steals. Sophomore Ehab Amin chipped in with eight points, nine rebounds and three assists off the bench.
Frye led the Colonels with 29 points.
A&M-Corpus Christi will head back on the road Monday for a match-up at Northwestern State Tuesday night. The Islanders and the Demons are set to tip-off at 6:30 p.m. in Natchitoches.
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