HOUSTON – Jonathon Simmons had a career-high 22 points, including a 5-for-7 effort from behind the arc, as Houston upended the Texas A&M – Corpus Christi basketball team 87-66 on Saturday at Hofheinz Pavilion. The Islanders are now off for the next 11 days over final exams.
After getting just four points from the freshman class against Texas Tech on Thursday, the Islanders saw the newcomers score 32 points in the loss. Hameed Ali had a career-best 15 points and Jake Kocher had a career-high nine. The Cougars placed four players in double figures to improve to 4-3 on the season. The Islanders are now 1-5 on the year.
The Islanders built an early 4-2 lead, but the Cougars responded with a 6-0 run to go ahead 8-4. Chris Hawkins-Mast scored three straight points to trim it to a one-point deficit, but the Islanders went cold from the field and Houston made the most of its free throw opportunities, sinking five straight for a 13-7 edge. The two teams traded baskets over the next several minutes, but Houston delivered the key bucket with J.J. Thompson draining a three at the 9:04 mark to build a nine-point Cougars lead.
But Houston caught fire from the field at that point, and after a Terence Jones three trimmed the deficit to eight, Jonathon Simmons built an 8-1 run on his own to force timeout and a 36-21 Cougars lead. After UH pushed it to 43-24, the Islanders responded with a 7-0 run to trim the score to 43-31 with 1:51 remaining. The Cougars regained their hot hand at the end of the stanza, though, finishing the half with a 7-2 run for a 50-33 halftime lead.
The two teams traded baskets out of the break, but the Cougars caught fire at that point, delivering a 10-0 run to create a 62-35 lead, their largest of the game to that point. An Ali jumper stopped the rally, but Houston kept its foot on the gas, pushing the advantage to 69-39 at the 10:32 mark.
The Islanders slowly chipped away at the UH advantage, highlighted by a high-energy effort from Jason Smith on both ends of the floor. But the deficit was too much for the visitors to overcome, and the Islanders found themselves on the wrong end of an 87-66 score.
Texas A&M – Corpus Christi is back in action on Thursday, Dec. 15, when they will take on South Alabama at the American Bank Center. Tickets for that game are available through the Holiday Hoops Four-Pack, offering four tickets in the Courtside section of the arena for just $28. Call 825-BALL or visit GoIslanders.com to purchase tickets.