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 (a career-high eight boards) 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 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% in the second half, coming undone against the Cougars’ defense. After fashioning an early five-point lead on 4-of-7 shooting, the Islanders 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 Damian Dunn and 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
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