LJ Cryer poured in 18 points and No. 6 Houston used a stingy defense to maintain control in a 65-49 whipping of Towson on Thursday night in the opening round of the Charleston Classic at Charleston, S.C.
Emanuel Sharp had 14 points off the bench, Ja’Vier Francis posted 10 points and Jamal Shead finished with nine points and eight assists.
Houston (4-0) meets the winner of the nightcap between Utah and Wake Forest in Friday’s semifinals. Towson (2-2) will meet the loser of Utah-Wake Forest in a consolation game.
Houston shot 41.4 percent from the field. Cryer and Sharp each drained three of the team’s seven 3-point baskets.
That perimeter shooting was in contrast to Towson’s 4-for-15 shooting on 3-pointers.
Christian May scored 10 points and Messiah Jones had nine points for Towson. Charles Thompson added eight points and nine rebounds.
The Tigers were hurt by missing 12 of 25 free throws.
Towson’s 38.1 percent shooting from the floor reflected an upgrade in the second half.
J’Wan Roberts pulled in 11 rebounds for the Cougars, who benefitted from bench scoring with their reserves outscoring Towson’s backups 23-14.
Sharp had five points in a 59-second stretch of the second half and Cryer’s final basket made the score 62-37 with 7:51 to play. Towson was amid a scoring drought of 3 1/2 minutes.
The Cougars broke out to a 24-7 lead as Towson had trouble getting any continuity on offense.
Houston’s 37-17 halftime lead came with Cryer posting 11 points and Sharp with nine. The Tigers shot 25 percent from the field in the half.
Cryer hit a 3-pointer early in the second half as a 7-2 Cougars spurt all but signaled that no comeback would be in the works for Towson.