Blaze fight off Buccaneers’ rally

BRENHAM, Texas – The Houston Blaze were able to fight off the Blinn Buccaneers' second-half rally here Saturday at the Blinn P.E. Building.

The Blaze defeated Blinn 83-80 after former University of Houston star Jonathan Sims stole the ball and took it the length of the court for a dunk with 30 seconds remaining in the game. That bucket would put the Buccaneers down three, and while freshman guard Darrell Combs hit a pair of free throws to pull the Bucs within one, Houston's Calvin Johnson made a pair of free throws with five seconds remaining to produce the final score.

Combs, who finished with 25 points, took a last-second 3-pointer that glanced off the rim. He scored 16 of his game-high 25 points in the first half.

"I thought Darrell really played well against these guys," Blinn (2-3) coach Scott Schumacher said. "He did a good job of penetrating and pulling up for a shot from 10 or 12 feet."

The Blaze set the pace of the game early, taking a 45-32 lead into halftime, but the Buccaneers fought back. With 7:45 to go in the game, sophomore De'Quentin Greer buried a 3-pointer to tie the score 64-64.

Darius Cooper, who would lead the Blaze with 20 points on the night, answered with a 3-pointer of his own to put Houston back on top.

The Bucs would again get back in the game with less than two minutes remaining. Freshman forward Rashaun Stimage tipped in a bucket to pull the Bucs within two, and Greer hit a jump-shot in the key to tie the score 78-78 with 55 seconds remaining.

"Greer hit two big shots for us," Schumacher said. "I was happy for DQ. He's a sophomore, he's been doing everything we've asked him to do and I'm happy he was able to have some success."

Corey Smith made one of two free throws for the Blaze to give them a one-point edge before the Bucs called a full timeout with 34.6 seconds left. But the play Blinn drew up never came to pass, as Sims stole the ball in the backcourt and dunked it.

The Blaze are a semi-pro team out of Houston comprised primarily of former Division I players.

The Buccaneers will be back in the Blinn P.E. Building Monday when they host Kingwood College for a 7:30 p.m. game.