No. 16 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi survives First Four matchup against No. 16 Southeast Missouri

The Islanders earned their first-ever NCAA tournament victory in three tries.

KTRK logo
Wednesday, March 15, 2023
Texas A&M Corpus Christi's Jalen Jackson shoots against Southeast Missouri State's Phillip Russell during a First Four game on March 14, 2023, in Dayton, Ohio.
AP Photo/Darron Cummings-AP

DAYTON, Ohio (KTRK) -- The Lone Star State is well represented in 2023's March Madness tournament with seven teams from Texas making the Big Dance.

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi earned the first win not only for Texas in this year's tourney but also notched the first-ever NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament victory in the school's history.

The No. 16 Islanders held off a rally to the very end by fellow 16th-seed Southeast Missouri State. The final in the First Four matchup on Tuesday night was 75-71.

Coach Steve Lutz's bunch, who earned the Southland Conference tournament championship and an automatic bid, led by six at halftime before allowing the Redhawks to rally.

Four Islanders scored in double digits, led by 5-foot-11-inch guard Jalen Jackson's 22 points, including 14 of 18 from the free-throw line.

Most crucially, the game allows Texas A&M-Corpus Christi to advance to the first round of the South Region to face the number one overall team in the 68-team field, Alabama.

The schools faced once before in a December 2004 game that the Crimson Tide won by 22 points. They face off once more Thursday afternoon in Birmingham, Alabama.

The Islanders made their tournament debut as a 15-seed in 2007, losing in the first round to Wisconsin. Their next entry into March Madness wouldn't come until 2022 when they dropped a First Four game to the Texas Southern Tigers, who get their shot at giving the Lone Star State a second win in this year's tournament on Wednesday against Fairleigh Dickinson.

Aside from TSU and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, the state of Texas is represented in the 2023 March Madness tourney by University of Houston, University of Texas, Texas A&M University, Baylor University, and Texas Christian.

SEE ALSO: Marcus Sasser earns Houston's 1st AP All-America First Team selection since Hakeem Olajuwon in 1984

Marcus Sasser, who was named to the AP All-America First Team, is still unclear to play during NCAA tournament games this weekend for Houston.