The Houston Hoops built a big lead early and held off the Howard Pulley (Minn.) All-Stars, 85-76, in the first semifinal game of the Nike Peach Jam Tuesday night at Riverview Park.
Brandon Foust had 18 points and 10 rebounds for All-Ohio Red in its 54-52 win over Boo Williams (Va.) in the other semifinal. All-Ohio will face Houston today at noon, for the championship.
Houston guards Tack Minor and Daniel Gibson had 23 points apiece for Houston, with Gibson scoring 18 in the first half.
The Hoops' formidable front line of 6-foot-10 Ndudi Ebi and 6-8 Justin Benson combined for 33 points. Ebi scored 18, including nine in the final five minutes, while Benson tossed in 15 and grabbed nine rebounds.
Houston outshot Howard Pulley, converting 55 percent of its field goals, compared to 43 percent for the All-Stars. The Hoops also connected on 44 percent (8-of-18) of their three-pointers.
After trailing 7-6, Houston gradually built a cushion in the first half and entered halftime ahead, 47-29. Gibson converted four of his five three-pointers before the intermission.
"He controls the flow of the game for our team," Hoops coach Darryl Sheppard said of Gibson. "He's the brain of this operation."
After Howard Pulley started the second half with an 8-0 run, cutting the lead to 47-37, Minor began to heat up and take control for Houston. The All-Stars got as close as six points, 67-61, with five minutes left, but Minor tallied seven straight points for the Hoops, including a three-pointer, thwarting Howard Pulley's comeback attempt.
"We came out early and just kept the lead," Minor said. "That's how we've been doing it the whole tournament."
Ebi's late-game run sealed the victory for Houston.
Kammron Taylor led Howard Pulley with 15 points, while Darren Clarke and Daniel Coleman had 12 apiece.
Reach Lane Kramer at (706) 823-3425.
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