EL PASO – What a difference a day makes.
After 23.3 percent in the first half and 32.3 percent overall in a 73-63 loss to CSU Bakersfield in the opener of the Jim Forbes Classic at the Don Haskins Center on Tuesday, Texas A&M Corpus Christi dominated Alcorn State and never stayed with 98 wins back -67 on Wednesday. The Islanders improve to 4-2 and Alcorn State falls to 2-3 and 0-2 in the tournament after losing to UTEP in double overtime on Tuesday night.
The 98 points was a season-high for the Islanders and it is the third time they have surpassed 90 points in a game.
Strong offensive performance
The Islanders scored 33 of 57 from field, 12 of 26 from 3-point range, and 20 of 24 from the free throw line. Eleven of the 12 players who played scored and five hit double digits.
Guard Ross Williams led by 22 points, forward Isaac Mushila scored 17 and added the team’s top nine boards, Trevian Tennyson scored 16, Terrion Murdix scored 12 and Tryrese Nickelsen added 10. Williams made 6 of 9 from 3-point range and all four of Tennyson’s field goals came from 3-point range. Williams led the team with 13 3-pointers going into play on Wednesday.
The Islanders also had 17 assists in 11 turnovers. Alcorn State was 12 of 23 from the free throw line and turned the ball over 16 times.
A brilliant first half
The Islanders dominated the first half, leading by 22 (48-26) en route to a 48-28 halftime lead. The sharp-shooting Williams made 6-of-8 from the field and 5-of-7 from 3-point range to lead the Islanders by 19 points. He made three straight 3-pointers on his own personal 9-0 run. Overall, the Islanders made 16 of 27 from the field, 6 of 12 from 3-point range, and 10 of 13 from the free throw line. The Islanders were never behind in the first half.
Mushila added 11 points and seven rebounds for Texas A&M Corpus Christi, who scored eight players in the first half.
Meanwhile, the Braves made 9-of-26 from the field and 1-of-7 from 3-point range in the first 20 minutes.
What the winning coach said
“It’s all about the mindset and we didn’t have the right mindset on Tuesday,” said Islanders coach Steve Lutz. “We talked about it after Tuesday’s game and our kids reacted with a lot of effort. We shot the ball well and defended well.”
What the winning players said
“These guys work hard and are always in the gym shooting the ball and working on their game,” said Tennyson and Williams Islanders point guard Jalen Jackson. “We came out strong and played well. We were focused and everyone contributed.”
The Islanders will take Thanksgiving Day off and play the final day of the Jim Forbes Classic Friday at 3:00 p.m. CST at the Don Haskins Center in El Paso UTEP. Alcorn State plays CSU Bakersfield Friday afternoon CST at the Don Haskins Center.
Lutz is good friends with UTEP head coach Joe Golding and trained with Miners associate head coach Jeremy Cox at Garden City Community College in Kansas.
“UTEP are well trained, they play hard and have a good size up front,” said Lutz. “It’s going to be a tough game. I know Coach Golding and Coach Cox well and they’re good guys.”
Men of the Texas Islanders A&M-Corpus Christi receive rings
The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi men’s basketball program unveiled two new banners and received rings commemorating the 2021-22 season.
Quinton Martinez, Wochit
Felix F. Chavez can be reached at 915-546-6167; [email protected]; @Fchavezeptimes on Twitter