By Bryan Davis
They just kept battling.
The Green Wave of West Point (2-0) continued their solid play in the early part of the 2010-2011 season on Tuesday night, outlasting the Hilltoppers of Houston 67-65.
“We played hard,” said West Point head coach Brad Cox. “The game was close. Neither team ever got up by much.”
The West Point offense came out on fire, scoring 17 points in the first quarter. The defense played solid enough to hold Houston to 12 points, taking a five point lead into the second period.
In that second quarter, Houston was able to regain its composure, and the Hilltoppers shocked the Green Wave for 22 points, while holding West Point to 18 points.
The 19 scored by the Green Wave was just enough to preserve the lead going into the half, but it was a slim 35-34 lead.
“They did a good job of changing defenses on us,” Cox said of Houston’s play on Tuesday night, which saw them exchange from the man press to the zone several times. “Our offense had a hard time adjusting to that.”
In the third quarter, Houston gained the momentum in the game, repeating their second quarter scoring total with 22 points, holding West Point to 19 points. This allowed the Hilltoppers to take the lead, but it was not a big one.
It was still close going into the fourth, and the West Point team was not ready to throw in the towel.
“Our guys had several opportunities to quit, and they didn’t,” Cox said.
It seemed that whenever West Point would be getting things going, a call would go the other way or Houston would make a big play to negate it.
That was not so in the fourth. The West Point offense came through, holding Houston to just eight points in the frame. The game was still very close though.
With nine seconds left in regulation, the two teams were knotted up at 65 points each. West Point thew the ball in, and with seven seconds left, Cortez Malone was fouled. He went to the line, and he netted both free throws that would prove to be the difference in the game.
Malone would finish the game with 12 points behind Laquintis Robertson, who scored 20 points for West Point. The duo also had three rebounds each.
Daryl Thomas had four points, and LaQuante Gaston had 13 points. Gaston finished with 10 offensive rebounds as well.
Arrington Lenior finished the game with eight points, and A.J. Jones had six points.
West Point will play Tupelo tonight, on the road, after the girls game.