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Islanders start conference play strongly, but tough road challenges loom

Posted: 5:38 PM, Jan 03, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-03 19:50:03-05

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi picked up a big victory in the Islanders’ Southland Conference opener.

The Islanders played one of their best games of the season in an 87-75 triumph over Central Arkansas Wednesday night at the American Bank Center.

A&M-Corpus Christi jumped out to a 16-point lead before the Bears clawed back to tie it.

But the Islanders had enough boost to put the game away, hitting 45.2 percent from the field and outrebounding Central Arkansas, 43-29. It snapped A&M-Corpus Christi’s three-game losing streak.

Four Texas A&M-Corpus Christi players scored in double figures led by Kareem South with 22 points. Emmanuel Toney added 13, Jashawn Talton chipped in with 12 and Elijah Schmidt added 11 points and a game-high 13 rebounds to lead the triumph.

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi coach Willis Wilson was happy with his team’s effort against the Bears.

“It’s huge,” Wilson said. “You have to defend your home court. It seems that that teams that do well in conference play and don’t lose at home and steal games on the road.”

But now, the Islanders (6-8) must hit the road for three consecutive road games, starting Saturday against Lamar (7-7). The Cardinals started Southland play Wednesday night with an 88-82 overtime loss at Houston Baptist.

“We have an opportunity with some road games coming up that if we take care of business on the road, we’ll be in good shape going forward,” Wilson said. “I think the good news for us, we have played well on the road and we have been able to win on the road early.

“But every time we have gone out at Oklahoma State, even stretches at Tennessee, but in particular at Louisiana Tech and our most recent outing on the road, I feel good about our chances of going on the road.”

After the Lamar game, the Islanders will follow with trips to Northwestern State and Sam Houston State before returning home Jan. 19 against New Orleans.