KATY, Texas – Making its first Southland Conference Championship appearance since 2007, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi could not halt two-time defending champion Stephen F. Austin's reign as the Islanders fell 82-60 Saturday at the Merrell Center in Katy, Texas.
After scoring the opening six points of the game, the Islanders (25-7) saw Stephen F. Austin (27-5) roll off a 35-6 run over the next 12 minutes to break the game wide open. The Lumberjacks would shoot 47-percent from the floor in the opening 20 minutes and added 15 points at the stripe to head into the break with a commanding 48-29 advantage.
It was a night where the Islanders could not find a way through the Lumberjack defense, committing 20 turnovers leading to 26 SFA points. The 20 turnovers were the most committed by the Islanders against a Southland Conference foe this season.
The Lumberjacks were led by Southland Conference Player of the Year Thomas Walkup and fellow senior Clide Geffrard who scored 19 and 18 points, respectively. Ty Charles joined the two seniors in double-digits with a dozen points. Four other 'Jacks scored six or more points on the night as SFA shot 47 percent from the field and added another 22 at the charity stripe.
The Blue and Green was led by sophomore Joe Kilgore who poured in 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the floor. Rashawn Thomas and Ehab Amin joined Kilgore in double-figures as the senior big man added 11 points and nine boards while Amin dropped in 10.
After hitting the game-winning three in the semifinal to propel the Islanders past Sam Houston State, Hameed Ali was named to the Southland Conference All-Tournament team. The senior point guard appeared to battle an injury throughout the game to finish with five points in the title match.
Despite the setback, A&M-Corpus Christi finishes the season with its second-consecutive 20-win campaign. The 25 wins are also the second-most in program history and the Islanders may not be done just yet.
The Islanders missed out on the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, but the postseason is once again in their future. Return to GoIslanders.com for more information early next week.