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Islanders men get win over UTRGV in South Texas Showdown

The Islanders used a second half surge to beat the Vaqueros 83-77 Wednesday night down in the Valley.

EDINBURG, Texas — Upping its winning-streak to five, the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi men's basketball program gutted-out an 83-77 road victory over UTRGV on Wednesday at the UTRGV Fieldhouse in the South Texas Showdown, presented by NavyArmy Community Credit Union. 

With the win, A&M-Corpus Christi (6-1) leads 19-6 in the 2021-22 South Texas Showdown standings over UTRGV (4-4) with each win counting as three points and one point being awarded for attendance. The Vaqueros drew a crowd of 1,681, which the Islanders will need to top on Dec. 8 at the American Bank Center to earn one point. 

The Islanders trailed 36-34 at half when they came out firing in the second. After taking a nine-point lead midway through, UTRGV stormed back to take a one-point edge, but A&M-Corpus Christi prevailed in the end as junior Isaac Mushila was too much for the Vaqueros to handle inside.

 Mushila registered his third consecutive double-double with a career-high 28 points and 11 rebounds to take over in the second half. He was 7-of-11 from the field and 14-of-17 from the free throw line. He was two made free throws away from the single-game school record.

Also in double-figures for the Islanders were senior Myles Smith and junior Terrion Murdix. Smith poured in 16 points including a trio of three-pointers, while Murdix posted a career-high 14 points and was 6-for-6 from the free throw line. 

As a team, A&M-Corpus Christi was 20-of-22 (.909) from the free throw line in the second half. For the game, the Islanders outrebounded the Vaqueros 41-33. 

UTRGV shot .509 from the field and were carried by Justin Johnson's game-high 33 points. 

The Islanders started behind 17-10 when junior Trevian Tennyson hit a three-pointer and Murdix converted a lay-up to cut it to 19-17 at the 9:06 mark. A three-pointer by junior Tyrese Nickelson had A&M-Corpus Christi down just 28-27 with 2:41 remaining. 

After the Vaqueros went back up by five, Smith was fouled shooting a three-pointer and hit all three free throws with eight seconds left to make it a 36-34 game at the intermission. 

Still down early in the second, Smith hit a three-pointer to give the Islanders a 39-38 lead, and then hit another to extend it to 44-40. After a lay-up by Mushila, the Vaqueros called timeout trailing 46-40 with 15:44 to go. 

After free throws by Mushila, the Islanders led 56-47 with 11:26 remaining. 

UTRGV answered with an 8-0 run to trail by one, and took the lead 59-58 at the 7:06 mark. However, after Mushila drained two more free throws on the other end, the Vaqueros never went ahead again. 

Mushila went on to score the next 13 consecutive points for the Islanders to put them back up 71-64 with 3:32 left.

UTRGV came within 77-73 with 1:11 remaining, but were forced to foul and A&M-Corpus Christi did not miss a free throw down the stretch to close it out. 

Up next, the Islanders will host Southwestern University at 2 p.m. Saturday at the American Bank Center. 

NOTES

- With its sixth win, A&M-Corpus Christi has surpassed its win total from last season. 

- The Islanders improved to 15-11 all-time against UTRGV and 8-5 on the road.

 - A&M-Corpus Christi began the night leading the Southland Conference in rebounding margin (+6.3) and was +8.0 in the match.

- Mushila entered the game leading the league in rebounding with 9.7 per game and will see his average go up after pulling down 11. His previous career-high in scoring was 21 points at UTSA. Mushila recorded his fifth double-figure scoring performance in a row.

- Smith etched his 52nd career double-figure scoring game, fifth this year and third in a row. He's up to 1,051 career points.

- Murdix's previous career-high was eight points set twice. He entered the night leading the conference in assists with 4.7 and was right on par with five in the game. With three steals, Murdix has grabbed at least one in every game this year. 

- With a 16-14 edge in transition, the Islanders have outscored all seven opponents this season in fast break points. They also improved to 7-0 when outscoring the opposition off the bench where they held a 28-15 advantage.