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Knowles and Islanders complete 10-day tour of Italy

Bahamian Zane Knowles had 30 points and 14 rebounds for his Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders in a 103-96 loss to Latina Basket during a pre-season exhibition tour in Italy.
  • Bahamian Zane Knowles had 30 points and 14 rebounds for his Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders in a 103-96 loss to Latina Basket during a pre-season exhibition tour in Italy.

Published: Sep 03, 2013

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Bahamian senior forward with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Zane Knowles said the experience that he got from his college team’s 10-day tour of Italy – both on and off the court – will last a lifetime.

The 6’10” 240-pounder played a significant role on the Islanders men’s basketball team, on their four-game pre-season exhibition stint. They finished with a 3-1 win/loss record in the four games, but it was in the third game in Latina, Italy when Knowles made headlines. Knowles had a monster game with 30 points and 14 rebounds, but the Islanders fell victim to tremendous shooting, as Latina Basket prevailed, 103-96.

“Personally, the experience for me was an eye opener and exactly what I wanted it to be. I am now a senior, and I’m looking forward to playing professional basketball after graduating, so I wanted an experience that will give me a great idea of what to expect if I ever went overseas to play professionally,” said Knowles on the team’s website. “I now have a much better feel of what it's like to live over there. The food is different so that is something I would have to adjust to, and I would have to learn how to communicate and speak the foreign language because English isn't very common, but the people were very nice. Overall, I think the trip was an awesome experience for the whole team. It was a challenge for us, that I think we did well against, and only made us more bonded as a team. Our team chemistry is great and is very strong which is great and something we never had before.”

As for the game, Latina went 16-for-30 overall from beyond the three-point arc, using a 7-for-8 mark in the fourth to pull out the victory. Knowles’ double-double led the Islanders. John Jordan added 27 points, nine assists and five rebounds, and Rashawn Thomas contributed 13 points and 14 boards.

Knowles himself had an excellent shooting night, going 15-for-16 from the floor, but A&M-Corpus Christi was just 2-for-7 from beyond the arc, compared to Latina's .533 percentage from downtown. Behind Knowles and Thomas, the Islanders out-rebounded their opponents, 43-21.

The Islanders jumped out to an early 10-5 lead on the strength of three straight

baskets by Knowles, but then they went away from Knowles, and Latina caught fire, unleashing a 14-2 run to take a 19-12 lead. The Islanders were down 25-18 at the end of the first quarter.

In the second quarter, Knowles and Jordan took over, combining to score 14 of the Islanders' 21 points in that frame. However, they struggled on defense as for every shot A&M-Corpus Christi delivered, Latina had an answer, and held a 43-34 lead with 2:32 left before the half. The Islanders got a three-point play from Jordan with 1:17 left, and Joy Williamson added a lay-up of his own to cut the deficit to just four, 43-39, at the break.

The third quarter saw A&M-Corpus Christi erase the deficit completely in the opening minute, and from there things went back-and-forth for the remainder of the quarter. Back-to-back jumpers by Jake Kocher put the Islanders ahead 49-48 at the 7:05 mark, but thereafter, neither team led by more than three for the rest of the quarter. Jordan's jumper in the closing minute put the Islanders ahead 66-65 heading to the final 10 minutes.

Latina scored the first 11 points of the final quarter, and eventually pulled ahead 86-72 midway through the fourth. The Islanders got the lead down to eight on several occasions, but couldn't get over the hump as Latina emerged with the win.

The Islanders will open the 2012-13 season with their basketball tournament in November.

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