CORPUS CHRISTI (ISLANDERS ATHLETICS) - Home sweet home. For the first time in 19 days, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi played in front of a friendly crowd on Stripes Court in the American Bank Center and the return home brought a return to form for the Islanders as they routed Northwestern State 99-82 Saturday night.
"I've been saying all week 'tough times don't last, tough people do'," said senior Rashawn Thomas. "We knew if we stayed focused, stayed humble and hungry, we could come back and start winning again. Coming home, we knew we needed to come out with a lot of energy and just focus on what we do and follow the process. We stayed locked in all week and it paid off for us today."
Thomas put forth his best effort of the year against the Demons (6-8, 0-3), pouring in a season-high 29 points while pulling down 11 rebounds. It was Thomas' sixth double-double of the season and second in-a-row.
With Thomas putting in yeoman's work down low, Ehab Amin dropped 28 on the Demons as the junior found his stroke from downtown. Amin splashed all four of his three-pointers in a four and a half minute stretch in the first half, keying a 30-9 Islanders run.
"I can't say enough about Ehab and Rashawn's performances," said Wilson. "I also have to comment on Joe Kilgore being really solid, getting us into the offense and asserting himself a little more, especially on the glass with six rebounds. Then Jake Kocher's energy and Kareem South, it was nice to see some offense coming from those guys. Our freshman gave us some good minutes, they were short-lived, but good minutes. All-in-all, I thought it was a pretty good performance tonight."
Trailing 11-8 with 15:30 to play, Amin knocked down the first of his triples on the night. He followed that bucket with one of his five steals and a rim-rocking dunk on the other end. Then, it was another three-ball as Amin went on an 8-2 run by himself to stake a 16-13 lead for the Blue and Green.
The Islanders (8-6, 1-2) never trailed again.
"I thought we were a little more disciplined in that stretch and played to our identity," said Wilson of the big run. "When we have really good spacing and we're able to play inside out, Rashawn's able to get touches and then find other guys. He found Joe on a backdoor cut tonight and those are the kind of plays we need more of. I thought we did a good job off our penetration of finding the next open guy and knocking down rhythm shots."
Amin scored 16 in the Islanders' 30-9 run. Rashawn Thomas added eight in the move, including a trio of baskets in a row to push the lead to 16. When it was all said and done, the Islanders led 38-20, an edge they held to the half with the score 52-34.