Privateers take care of ball at Corpus Christi, earn 10th conference win

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Team turns ball over just eight times

CORPUS CHRISTI – A locker room visit from Texas A&M University-Kingsville head men’s basketball coach Johnny Estelle and postgame remarks from head University of New Orleans coach Mark Slessinger touched on one major key in the quest for back-to-back championships; playing for one another.

The unselfishness was evident, with the Privateers tallying 15 assists on 19 field goals while turning the ball over just eight times in the 62-53 victory over Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (8-14, 5-7 Southland) Saturday evening at the American Bank Center.

The win improves the Privateer mark to 13-11 overall and 10-3 in Southland play with five regular season games to go – a home and home with Southeastern Louisiana, away games at Nicholls and Sam Houston State and a home contest versus McNeese. Nicholls is atop the Southland and the Lions and Bearkats are tied with the Privateers at 10-3 in conference play.

Travin Thibodeaux scored a team-high 16 points on 5-of-10 shooting off the bench and Bryson Robinson finished with 15 points – nine from three-point range. Diontae Champion added eight points off the bench.

Makur Puou was a menace defensively, with four blocks (NOTE: stat change).

New Orleans dominated the last four minutes of the stanza to take a 29-22 lead into the break. Robinson led the squad with 10 points – six from long distance – and Thibodeaux came off the bench with three assists. Lamont Berzat swiped two passes. The unselfishness was evident with the Privateers collecting eight assists on 10 field goals.

Back-to-back three-pointers by Robinson and Ezekiel Charles extended the UNO lead to double figures but the Islanders stormed back to make it a four-point ballgame with six minutes to go.

However, the Privateers went on an 11-0 run and forced three turnovers for a 15-point cushion with 2:09 remaining.

New Orleans brought in the second unit en route to a 62-53 victory. The highlight down the stretch came on the Bol Riek dunk with 25 ticks left to play.

The Privateers head to Hammond to take on Southeastern Louisiana on Valentine’s Day at 7 p.m.

Fans are encouraged to follow @PrivateersMBB on Twitter, @PrivateersMBB on Instagram, like /PrivateersMBB on Facebook and subscribe to the PrivateerAthletics YouTube channel.

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