Texas Border Business
RIO GRANDE VALLEY – The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) Vaqueros men’s basketball team fell to the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders 55-52 as part of the South Texas Showdown, presented by Navy Army Community Credit Union, on Saturday at the UTRGV Fieldhouse.
The Vaqueros (2-5) win the attendance point 1,093-to-978, but the Islanders (3-4) now hold a 15-14 lead in the showdown standings.
Graduate student Jordan Jackson led the Vaqueros with 16 points. Senior Lesley Varner II scored 15 points on 7-of-13 shooting, eight rebounds, and three steals. Freshman Connor Raines scored a career-high 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting, including 3-of-4 from behind the arc.
Myles Smith led the Islanders with 23 points and six rebounds. Elijah Schmidt finished with 10 points and nine rebounds.
Raines scored the Vaqueros’ first nine points to help the Vaqueros go up 9-5.
Then, with the score 12-9, Varner made three baskets, including a three, and Jackson added a three-point play, to put the Vaqueros up 22-9.
The Islanders pulled to within seven late in the first half before a three by sophomore Uche Dibiamaka and a jumper and a layup by Varner gave the Vaqueros a 36-22 lead at the start of the second half.
The Islanders hit four-straight baskets to pull within 36-31. Then, after a Jackson jumper and a free throw by junior Chris Freeman, The Islanders went on a 12-0 run to take a 43-39 lead.
The Islanders still led at 48-45 with five minutes remaining when a Varner layup and a Jackson dunk gave the Vaqueros the lead.
A Jackson jumper tied the game at 51 with 2:38 left, but a Jordan Hairston free throw and a Smith three gave the Islanders the lead for good.
UTRGV is back in action on Tuesday at 7 p.m. against Sam Houston State at the UTRGV Fieldhouse. Fans can come to check out the grand opening of the hottest spot on campus – Vaquero Village. The action starts at 5:30 p.m. with a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of renovations to the UTRGV Fieldhouse and the launch of Vaquero Village, a new pregame fan experience. Red Panda, declared by Sports Illustrated to be “the NBA’s favorite halftime show,” is set to perform at halftime. The first 200 UTRGV students in attendance will receive free tacos, courtesy of head coach Lew Hill and the men’s basketball team. Current UTRGV students get free general admission with a valid UTRGV student ID. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online at UTRGVTickets.com. Fans purchasing their tickets online prior to game day can save up to $2 per ticket.
The next event of the South Texas Showdown, presented by Navy Army Community Credit Union, is on Dec. 12 at 7 p.m. when UTRGV women’s basketball hosts Corpus Christi.