RIO GRANDE VALLEY – The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) Vaqueros men’s basketball team kicked off the Bert Ogden Arena Series, presented by the City of Edinburg, with a 62-59 victory over the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders on Wednesday as part of the South Texas Showdown, presented by Navy Army Community Credit Union.
The Vaqueros (2-1) now lead the Islanders (1-3) 6-0 in the showdown standings.
Senior Javon Levi led the Vaqueros with 19 points, six rebounds, seven assists and six steals. Junior Sean Rhea scored 18 points with five rebounds and two blocks. Sophomore Quinton Johnson II finished with nine points and five rebounds.
Perry Francois led the Islanders 15 points, four rebounds and two blocks. Jordan Hairston finished with 14 points and four assists.
The Vaqueros jumped out to a 10-5 lead on five baskets from four players. Then, after the Islanders pulled to within 13-10, junior Malik Lawrence-Anderson converted a three-point play to spark an 11-0 run to put the Vaqueros up 24-10 with 6:13 remaining in the first half.
The Islanders didn’t allow the Vaqueros to score again until early in the second half, scoring seven points over a seven-minute span. The Islanders made it an 11-1 run to pull within 25-21.
A layup and a three-point play by Rhea pushed the Vaqueros’ lead to 30-21 before a Javae Lampkins three and a Francois three-point play brought the Islanders right back to within three.
The Vaqueros answered with a 9-0 run powered by a three and a jumper by Levi to go up 39-27 at the 11:58 mark.
The Islanders climbed to within 41-35 on a Rasheed Browne three, but the Vaqueros went on a 9-4 run to take a 50-39 lead on a Levi three.
The Islanders responded by scoring the next 10 points as part of a 13-2 run to tie the game at 52 with 3:58 remaining, but Rhea hit a pair of free throws one minute later to give the Vaqueros the lead for good.
UTRGV is back in action on Friday at 6 p.m. against Our Lady of the Lake at the UTRGV Fieldhouse. Fans will not be admitted to this game. Fans can watch for free online at WACDigitalNetwork.com.
The next event of the South Texas Showdown, presented by Navy Army Community Credit Union, is on Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. when women’s basketball visits Corpus Christi.