HOUSTON The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi men's basketball team closed out its five-game road trip Tuesday night with an 85-65 loss to Houston at the Hofheinz Pavilion in its final nonconference game of the year.
With the loss, the Islanders fall to 6-9 on the season. Houston improves to 9-3 on the season and is 6-1 at home.
"We knew coming in that Houston was a good offensive team and we didn't do much to slow them down," said Islander head coach Perry Clark. "We didn't do a good job of adjusting to their pace."
A&M-Corpus Christi led briefly at 8-5 after Justin Reynolds and Kevin Palmer each converted three-point plays.
Kelvin Lewis scored four straight points to give the hosts the lead 9-8. They would not trail again
The game would remain tight through the first 11 minutes of the opening half as four straight points by Palmer a jumper and a pair of free throws made it a two-point game, 23-21, with just over nine minutes to go.
The Islanders would go cold over the next five minutes as Houston scored eight straight and closed the half with a 20-8 run to make it a 10-point game with just over five minutes to go in the half at 31-21 as Aubrey Coleman converted a three-point play.
TAMUCC twice pulled to within eight on a basket by Tim Green and a pair of free throws Jawan Nelson. The Islanders would get no closer the rest of half. While going 8-of-9 from the foul line, they would hit just 29.4% of their first half shots.
Houston shot 45.5% from the field and was 11-of-13 from the foul line. The Cougars, who commit the fewest in the nation, had just six in the first half while forcing 10.
In the second half, the Islanders pulled to within single digits on nine occasions the last coming on a putback by Horace Bond with just over 15 minutes to go.
The Cougars answered with a 24-6 run over the next eight minutes to break the game open.
"I thought we started to do a better job offensively early in the second half," said Clark. "We just never got consecutive stops to make more of a run."
Palmer led the Islanders with 17 points just missing his fourth straight 20-point game. Reynolds responded from back-to-back scoreless to tally 13 points. LaMarr Drake and Demond Watt each had nine points. Watt led the team with 10 rebounds to just miss a double-double and the Islanders out-rebounded the Cougars 45-35. TAMUCC had 20 offensive boards.
Coleman and Lewis led UH with 22 and 20 points, respectively. Marcus Cousin added 14 and Qa'rraan Calhoun 13. Coleman and Cousin each had double-doubles with 10 rebounds.
After playing its last five nonconference games on the road, the Islanders return home to open their season in Southland Conference on Saturday. TAMUCC opens with Central Arkansas at 7 p.m. before hosting Texas State on Wednesday.