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HOUSTON (AP) J’Wan Roberts had 17 points and nine rebounds, L.J. Cryer added 15 points, and No. 7 Houston defeated Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 82-50 Saturday.

Cryer had 12 points in the first half, and Roberts scored 11 first-half points to drive Houston to a 14-point halftime lead.

“The thing about this team is I don’t know what their ceiling is,” Houston coach Kelvin Sampson said. “I’ve had some teams that I knew they had a lower ceiling. This team has a higher ceiling.”

Ja’Vier Francis scored 13 points and Emanuel Sharp had 11 points for Houston (2-0), which shot 42%, including 6 of 22 on 3-pointers. Houston forced 17 Islanders turnovers, which they converted into 19 points.

“We’re still growing, but I like the potential of this team,” Sampson said. “I think this team can be really good. I really like this team. We have great player leadership.”

Lance-Amir Paul scored 10 points and Jordan Roberts added nine for the Islanders (1-1). Texas A&M-Corpus Christi shot 30%, but the team was 5 of 21 on 3-pointers.

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi coach Jim Shaw pointed to Houston’s 54-41 rebounding edge, specifically the Cougars’ 19-13 advantage in offensive rebounds, as a key factor.

“Unbelievable toughness on their part as far as rebounding the ball,” Shaw said. “I’m sure they beat us on the boards quite a bit. The game honors toughness, and they were – at this point – a little tougher than we were.”

Trailing 12-7 with 14 minutes remaining in the first half, Houston reeled off 12 straight points to open up a seven-point lead on a 3-pointer by Ramon Walker Jr. three minutes later.

The Islanders closed within 25-21 on an Owen Dease free throw with seven minutes left in the first half. But the Cougars finished the half on a 16-6 run to take a 41-27 lead into halftime on a 3-pointer by Cryer.

BIG PICTURE

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi: The Islanders, who are in their 25th season playing basketball, have never beaten a ranked team in program history. … The Islanders, who have 11 new players this season, were able to hang with Houston for most of the first half, but Houston’s size and speed was too much.

Houston: The Cougars struggled to start, shooting 2 for 12, but they heated up, hitting 11 of 23 to end the first half. … Houston leaned on the team’s defense and athleticism to create turnovers and second chances.

FOUL TROUBLE

The teams combined to commit 40 fouls, but Houston was 20 of 34 from the free-throw line and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi was 7 of 12.

UP NEXT

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi: Hosts Dallas Christian Monday

Houston: Hosts Stetson Monday to end the team’s season-opening three-game homestand.

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