ABILENE, Texas (AP) — Jaren Lewis and Payten Ricks scored 18 points apiece and Abilene Christian nearly blew a 17-point second-half lead but held off Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 78-71 on Wednesday night to beat the Islanders for the first time in 10 tries.
B.J. Maxwell scored 16 points and Jaylen Franklin dished six assists for the Wildcats (18-4, 7-2 Southland Conference), who made 12 of 24 3-pointers and scored 25 points off of 19 Inslanders’ turnovers.
The Wildcats extended a 40-33 halftime lead to 17, 61-44 on Ricks’ free throw, but Tony Lewis’ 3-pointer sparked a 16-0 run for a 64-63 Islanders’ lead with 6:08 to play. Hayden Farquhar made a go-ahead free throw and the Wildcats’ pulled ahead by five before the Islanders closed to 72-71 on Lewis’ jumper with 54 seconds left.
Jaren Lewis hit a jumper and the Wildcats scored four free throws in the final 20 seconds to seal it.
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Tre Gray and Kareem South scored 16 apiece and Irshaad Hunte added 15 for the Islanders (9-11, 4-3), whose bench outscored Abilene Christian’s 42-19.