Islanders use late run to hold off Cowboys, 60-56

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CORPUS CHRISTI – McNeese’s Christian Shumate scored a game-high 19 points while Zach Scott added 13 but Texas A&M-Corpus Christi outscored the Cowboys 11-5 over the final 4:36 to escape with a 60-56 Southland Conference men’s basketball win between two 1-0 teams.

The loss was the 12th straight suffered by the Cowboys (7-12, 1-1 SLC) to the Islanders (15-4, 2-0) while it snapped a two-game winning streak. McNeese will look to get back in the win column Saturday afternoon when it visits UIW at 4 p.m.

McNeese took a 51-49 lead following a Harwin Francois 3-pointer with 5:57 to play in the game as the Islanders followed with an 8-0 run after the Cowboys missed a couple of point blank shots and two turnovers.

Shumate’s layup plus-1 pulled the Cowboys to within 59-56 with 54 seconds to play then Myles Lewis stole the ball on the opposite end to give McNeese the ball back, but the Cowboys missed on a couple of contested layups and couldn’t get any closer.

The Cowboys played without 7-foot-1 center Brendan Medley-Bacon after he aggravated his knee in the morning’s shoot-around workout. His absence was felt early on as the Islanders held an 11-2 rebounding advantage to start the game and ended with a plus-6 advantage for the game at 44-38, including 15 offensive boards that led to 12 second chance points.

“Not having Brendan hurt but Christian did a great job in the No. 5 spot for us,” said head coach John Aiken. “That was a heck of a game. A heavyweight fight out there.”

Isaac Mushila led the Islanders with 18 points and 17 rebounds while De’Lazarus Keys added 12 and 10.

Neither team shot light’s out, mostly because of the tough defense both teams fielded. McNeese shot 35 percent from the field (22 of 63) while the Islanders connected on 41 percent (24 of 59). That number was boosted due to 50 percent shooting in the second half.

The Cowboys hit 6 of 17 from long range (35 percent) while AMCC connected on 4 of 15 (27 percent), and McNeese went 6 for 7 at the free throw line (86 percent) while the Islanders shot 8 for 15 for 53 percent.

Corpus scored the first eight points of the game but the Cowboys battled back and eventually pulled to within 1 at 16-15 following a Collin Warren jumper that extend a McNeese run to 6-0.

The Islanders managed to put a run of their own together and grew their lead to 28-18 with 4:46 to play in the half. From that point, McNeese scored the next eight points of the half to go into the break trailing 28-26.

The Cowboys grew their run to 19-0 after scoring the first 11 points of the second half to build a 37-28 lead at the 15:39 mark. AMCC followed with a 10-0 run to go up 38-37 following a Simeon Fryer 3-pointer with 12:27 remaining, but Scott answered with a 3 to put McNeese back up 40-38 less than a minute later.

From there it was back-and-forth until the Islanders’ game-winning run late in the game.

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