NEW ORLEANS (ISLANDERS ATHLETICS) - On a stop-and-start night at Lakefront Arena, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi battled back from a nine-point halftime deficit to force overtime, but New Orleans took advantage of a wealth of trips to the line to stave off the Islanders, 73-72 in the Southland opener.
In a defensive first half, the Islanders opened the game by holding New Orleans scoreless for 7:32 seconds, building an 8-0 advantage. From there, the tables turned as the Blue and Green hit just 5-of-19 the remainder of the half. New Orleans, meanwhile found its stroke.
After missing on their first seven attempts from the field, the Privateers went 10-for-21 down the stretch. The hot close to the first half included an 11-1 run to finish with a 29-20 lead at the break.
Trailing 55-49 with 2:35 to play, the Islanders put together a 8-2 run to knot the game at 57-all with 25 seconds to play. Rashawn Thomas capped the rally with a turnaround jumper after forcing the second New Orleans turnover of the run.
Nate Frye, who had 27 on the day to lead all scorers, broke through for a layup to put New Orleans up two with just four seconds to play. Junior Ehab Amin had an answer, racing the length of the court to lay in the game-tying bucket as time expired. The two were the biggest of Amin's team-leading 25 in the game.
New Orleans hit just four three-pointers on the night, but guards Nate Frye and Christavious Gill hit back-to-back triples to seize momentum in overtime.
Trailing 73-72 with a seven-second differential between the game clock and shot clock, the Islanders got the defensive stop they needed as Gill misfired from distance. Thomas pulled down the rebound and found Amin who once again raced the length of the floor, but this time his floater clanged short off the rim as the clock hit zero.
DIFFERENCE AT THE LINE
The Islanders hit three more shots from the field that UNO, but the Privateers were the benefactor of 22 trips to the free throw line. New Orleans hit 17 times from the charity stripe as the Islanders were whistled for 24 fouls compared to UNO's 13 infractions.
The Privateers were plus-7 at the free throw line, providing the one-point margin at the final horn.
• Rashawn Thomas scored 23 points for his fifth game of 20-plus in the past seven. He's scored double-figures in each of the Islanders' 12 games.
• A&M-Corpus Christi racked up 19 steals in the loss. Ehab Amin, Kareem South, Jake Kocher and Joseph Kilgore each had four thefts while Thomas added three.
• Amin recorded a season-high six assists.
• South score 11 points to give the Islanders three in double figures.
The Islanders look to rebound Monday night with a trip to Nicholls. The Colonels were 94-84 victors over Incarnate Word Saturday night.