BIG SPRING — The South Plains College men's basketball team improved to 3-0 in the Western Junior College Athletic Conference on Monday night as they clipped the Howard Hawks 80-72 at Dorothy Garrett Coliseum.
With the win, South Plains improves to 11-4 on the year and will host New Mexico Military Institute Thursday night at the Texan Dome in Levelland with tipoff slated for 6:30 p.m.
"I think we tried playing as a team for the most part, and at halftime I let our guys know they needed to step it up a notch," South Plains head coach Steve Green said. "They got comfortable and started sharing the ball and trusting each other."
South Plains' Isaiah Maurice led all scorers with 22 points and 10 boards as the 6-foot-10 forward from Durham, North Carolina was 9 of 13 from the floor and 2 of 3 from the perimeter in 33 minutes of action, recording his second double-double of the season.
Keith McGee knocked down 6 of 11 attempts from the field, chipping in 13 points and corralled five boards over 25 minutes. Texas Tech signee Deshawn Corprew tallied 13 points on 5 of 11 shooting from the field, while Chris Orlina poured in 10 points and Will Washington finished with eight.
"Keith is taking over a role that has been manned by someone else, and he needs to learn when to force and when not to, but he made some big plays for us," Green said. "Isaiah is great when you get him involved. If you don't get him the ball he's not any good … because nobody is. When you get the ball to him he's a good player. He can hit the 3, and he has the ability to drift out there and knock them down."
South Plains shot 50.8 percent from the floor in the contest including a 46.9 percent mark in the front half which gave South Plains a 41-37 lead at the midway point. Howard shot 44 percent from the floor and just 33 percent from the perimeter as they move to 13-4 on the season and 1-2 in conference play.
South Plains would go on to lead by as much as 15 in the final minutes of the second half as they shot 55.6 percent in the back half including 55 percent from 3. The Hawks shot just 30 percent from the field in the final 20 minutes and were 4 of 11 from the perimeter.
Jake Hutchings led Howard with 17 points including a 5-for-8 mark from 3. Amari McCray poured in 14 points and was 6 of 6 from the field over 23 minutes and Jack Pagenkopf bucketed 10 points and pulled in four boards in 31 minutes.