KATY, Texas (AP) — Rashawn Thomas scored 27 points with two blocks and nine rebounds despite four fouls and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi held off a late rally to defeat three-time defending Southland Tournament champion Stephen F. Austin 77-69 in a physical semifinal on Friday night.

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (20-10), which has not been to the NCAA Tournament since 2007, plays top-seeded New Orleans (19-11) in the Southland championship on Saturday for the chance to dance.

Cole Martinez scored 16 points with five 4-pointers and Kareem South 13. South, Jake Kocher and Thomas all played long stretches with four fouls and Joseph Kilgore fouled out for the Islanders, who do not have a deep bench.

The Islanders were whistled for 26 fouls, Stephen F. Austin 27.

Leon Gilmore III led the Lumberjacks (18-14) with 20 points and 10 rebounds, Ty Charles added 16 before he fouled out while leading a comeback.

Texas-Corpus Christi led by as many as 18 with 13:13 to go before Stephen F. Austin came as close as 65-60, fighting for a fifth-straight trip to the conference final. Thomas stopped the rally with a 3 from the wing.