Texas A&M-CC beats SE Louisiana 73-65, wins Southland title

Texas A&M Corpus Christi players celebrate after the Southland Conference tournament NCAA college basketball game final against the Southeastern Louisiana Saturday, March 12, 2022, in Katy, Texas. Texas A&M Corpus Christi won 73-65.(AP Photo/David J. Phillip) (David J. Phillip, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

KATY, Texas – Terrion Murdix and Jalen Jackson each had 13 points and five assists, and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 15 years with a 73-65 victory over Southeastern Louisiana in the Southland Conference tournament championship on Saturday night.

San Antonio native and first-year coach Steve Lutz, who spent the previous four seasons as an assistant at Purdue, gets the fourth-seeded Islanders (23-11) to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2007.

The Islanders took the lead for good with 16:10 to play, but the second-seeded Lions stayed within single digits until the final minute. Ryan Burkhardt got the Lions within three points twice, first with a 3-pointer and then with a pair of free throws a minute later to make it 61-58 with 4:07 remaining.

But the Islanders answered with Murdix's underhanded layup to spark a 10-2 run. The Lions added five free throws in the last nine seconds.

De’Lazarus Keys scored 12 points and San Antonio Brinson had 10 for Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, which is 17-0 when holding opponents under 70 points. Isaac Mushila grabbed 12 rebounds to go with eight points.

Keon Clergeot scored 13 of his 18 points in the second half for SE Louisiana (19-14). Burkhardt added 14 points. The pair combined for six of the Lions' 10 3-pointers while the rest were just 9-of-34 (26%) shooting from the field overall.

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