HONOLULU (AP) — Quentin Grimes scored 23 of his game-high 26 points before halftime and Houston fended off Georgia Tech 70-59 in a Diamond Head Classic semifinal Monday.
The Cougars (9-3) never trailed and led by as many as 13 points in claiming their seventh win in eight games, including their last three.
Grimes shot 10 of 11 from the field in the first half and was 10 of 15 for the game. He finished five points shy of his tying career-high of 31 points, which he set earlier this season in a win over Rice.
Fabian White Jr. recorded his first double-double of the season with 15 points and 12 rebounds for Houston.
Moses Wright led the Yellow Jackets (5-6) with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Michael Devoe added 17 points and Jordan Usher added 10.
Georgia Tech got within 56-51 on a pair of Jose Alvarado free throws with 4:24 left to play. However, the Cougars answered with a 7-0 run that included a Nate Hinton three-point play to separate.
Houston led 43-32 at halftime.
Houston entered ranked third nationally in rebounding margin (plus-11.6), third in total rebounds (43.8 rpg) and fourth in offensive rebounds (14.9 per game). It finished plus-17 in rebounding margin, grabbed 42 total rebounds, including 16 on the offensive glass.
Georgia Tech finished 10th in the ACC last year, its highest finish since tying for ninth in 2013, and was picked to finish 12th in the preseason poll. After a 4-2 start to the season, it dropped three straight before getting back into the win column with Sunday’s 74-60 win over Boise State.
Houston: Will play the winner of No. 22 Washington and Hawaii for the tournament championship on Wednesday.
Georgia Tech: Will try for third place when it meets the Washington-Hawaii loser Wednesday.
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