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Islanders power past Bears in conference opener

Posted: January 2, 2014 - 11:23pm

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi’s Islanders dominated the University of Central Arkansas Bears in every phase Thursday night in cruising to an 81-66 victory in the Southland Conference opener at the Farris Center.

The Islanders (4-10, 1-0) took advantage of UCA turnovers and got behind the defense for some easy baskets in pulling to an 11-point lead late in the first half. They were never seriously challanged by the Bears (3-9, 0-1) in the second half. The Bears got within 69-60 with 3:09 left before the Islanders picked apart the UCA defense for two layups and a dunk.

“We played like we practiced Wednesday and Thursday,” said UCA coach Clarence Finley. “Usually, we play well after bad practices but not tonight. We’re a better ballclub than we showed tonight.”

A&M-CC had a 50-37 advantage in points in the paint. It scored 30 points off 21 turnovers and outscored UCA, 48-11 in bench points. UCA was five of 23 from 3-point range.

“We took too many quick 3-pointers instead of taking it to the rack,” Finley said.

Jalen Jackson led UCA with 19 points. LaQuentin Miles added 19.

It was the Islanders’ first road win in six tries.

UCA hosts Houston Baptist at 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

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