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Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Outlasts Furman In Battle 4 Atlantis, 73-69

Stephen Croone
Stephen Croone

Elon, N.C. -- Texas A&M-Corpus Christi shot 57% from the field in the second half to hold off Furman, 73-69, on Thanksgiving afternoon at the Battle 4 Atlantis regional at Alumni Gym in Elon, N.C.

The loss, Furman's third straight, dropped the Paladins to 2-3 on the season.  The Islanders improved to 3-2 with their second straight win. Furman will face Mount St. Mary's on Friday at 4:30 p.m. in the consolation round, while A&M-Corpus Christi will battle host Elon at 7 p.m.

The Islanders held Furman to 35% shooting on the night and used a 10-2 second-half run to erase a three-point deficit. Trailing 54-51 with under nine minutes to play, Brandon Pye accounted for eight points, including a pair of three-pointers, during the  run that handed the Islanders a 61-56 lead on Pye's jumper with 6:35 to play.

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi extended the lead to six points before Furman closed the gap late. Matt Rafferty's layup with 2:25 to go cut the margin to 66-64. After Jelanie Currie made 1-of-2 free throws, the teams traded possessions before Rafferty scored again in the paint to pull Furman within one at 67-66 with under a minute remaining.

Furman's Stephen Croone followed two Islander free throws by making 1-of-2 at the charity stripe, but A&M-Corpus Christi scored against the Paladin press to up the lead to 71-67 on Pye's lay in with 26 seconds left. Rafferty made two free throws on Furman's next possession to cut the lead back to two points, but Ehab Amin drained a pair at the line to cap the game for the Islanders.

Pye led four Islanders in double figures with 19 points on 5-of-7 shooting from long range.  Rashawn Thomas fouled out with 12 points, while Bryce Douvier and Currie added 11 and 10 points, respectively. The Islanders shot 48.1% from the field, including 15-of-26 shooting in the second period.

Croone scored a game-high 22 points to go with five rebounds and four assists to pace the Paladins.  His 22 points moved him past Robby Bostain and Derek Waugh into 18th place on Furman's career scoring ledger with 1,416 points.

Rafferty notched his third double-double in five career games with 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Devin Sibley contributed 12 points. The Paladins grabbed 18 offensive rebounds en route to a 42-31 edge on the glass.

Furman missed its first nine shots of the game, but trailed only 29-27 at the break.  The Paladins fell behind by seven points early in the second half, but three-pointers from Sibley and Daniel Fowler keyed a 14-5 run that gave Furman a three-point lead with nine minutes remaining.

Live streaming and live statistics will be provided for both of Friday's games with the Paladins' contest also set to air on the Furman IMG Radio Network.

Jordan Caskey, Furman Sports Information