J’Wan Roberts and L.J. Cryer combined for 32 points as the seventh-ranked Houston Cougars rolled to an 82-50 victory over the visiting Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders on Saturday.
Roberts paired 17 points with nine rebounds while Cryer added 15 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, plus three assists to carry the Cougars (2-0), who labored shooting in the first half before opening the second with a dunking exhibition supported by their stifling defense.
Cryer drilled a 3-pointer from the left wing with two seconds left in the first half to cap a 16-6 run that provided Houston a 41-27 lead at the intermission.
The Cougars delivered the knockout blow almost immediately out of the locker room, opening the second half with two dunks from Ja’Vier Francis (13 points), a third from Roberts and a Cryer 3-pointer that yielded a 50-30 lead. Terrance Arceneaux (career-high eight rebounds) added a dunk that pushed the Houston lead to 55-30, and when Roberts dunked in transition with 11:32 left, the Cougars led 63-33.
The Islanders (1-1), meanwhile, missed 11 of 12 shots to start the second half. Owen Dease nailed a 3-pointer at the 13:35 mark to end that run of futility, but the Cougars led by 27 at that point.
The Islanders shot 24.3 percent in the second half, coming undone against the Cougars’ defense. After fashioning an early three-point lead on 4-of-7 shooting, Corpus Christi endured a scoring drought.
Houston turned a 12-0 run into a 19-12 lead, with its handiwork on the offensive glass resulting in second-chance free throws for Cryer. Ramon Walker Jr. hit a 3-pointer during that run and added another during the rally that started following a Dease free throw at the 6:50 mark.
The foul-plagued first half resulted in a combined 31 free-throw attempts between the teams. Houston took advantage of nine Islanders turnovers, converting those into 11 points, and finished with a plus-8 margin in field-goal attempts thanks in large part to 13 offensive rebounds prior to the break.
Lance-Amir Paul led the Islanders with 10 points.
–Field Level Media