Cougars' Hot Half Lifts Them Past Men's Basketball, 78-67

Cougars' Hot Half Lifts Them Past Men's Basketball, 78-67

HOUSTON – Houston went 17-for-30 from the field (.567) in the second half to vault past the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi men's basketball team in a 78-67 victory on Saturday at Hofheinz Pavilion. Jeff Beverly (20) and Joy Williamson (18) each had career highs in points for the Islanders (3-6) in a losing effort.

John Jordan added 19 points, six assists and five rebounds for A&M-Corpus Christi in his return to his hometown. Houston (6-2) placed five players in double figures, led by TaShawn Thomas' 14. The Cougars forced the Islanders into 15 turnovers at the offensive end, and outscored the visitors 40-18 in the paint.

Early on, the Cougars showed strong offensive efficiency, starting 5-for-10 from the field to open up a 14-9 lead. But the Islanders tightened defensively, and coupled that with an impressive uptick on the offensive end to embark on a 16-4 run to garner a 25-18 advantage. Jordan was the catalyst, scoring eight of the visitors' 16 in the rally.

The teams traded baskets for a 27-20 score, but Houston came right back after that, getting back-to-back buckets in close en route to a 5-0 run, making it a two-point game. The Islanders then got a key triple from Williamson to put the score at 30-25, but Houston closed the half on a 4-1 run for a 31-29 Islanders lead at the half.

Beverly led all scorers with 10 points on 3-for-4 shooting, hitting a pair of threes. The Islanders went 12-for-24 from the field, including a 3-for-5 performance beyond the arc, in the opening stanza. Houston, by comparison, went just 9-for-23 from the field.

The Cougars continued the momentum out of the break, regaining the lead on a Jherrod Steggers dunk that made it 33-31. After the Cougars extended their edge to 38-35, the teams engaged in a back-and-forth that saw neither team lead by more than a single possession until Jordan hit a pair of free throws to tie it at 47. After U of H got a Danrad Knowles tip in and three-point play from Jaaron Simmons to push the lead to five, Williamson drilled a three to cut the lead to just two at 52-50.

UH then embarked on a critical 11-3 run to push its lead to a game-high 10. The rally culminated with five straight points that featured dunks by TaShawn Thomas and Knowles to make it 63-53 and force an Islanders timeout. From that point on, the Cougars had an answer for every attack from A&M-Corpus Christi, and were able to seal the victory down the stretch at the line.

The Islanders will return to action on Thursday, Dec. 5, as they head to Norman, Okla., to take on the University of Oklahoma. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at the Floyd Noble Center.

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