HOUSTON, Texas - Craig Brackins scored 23 of his career-high 38 points in the second half to rally Iowa State to a 71-67 win over Houston Sunday night at the Hofheinz Pavilion in Houston, Texas. Brackins, who also grabbed 14 boards in the win, recorded his third 30-point game of his career while tallying a career-best 15 field goals.
The win, which improves ISU to 8-4 on the season, ended the Cougars seven-game winning streak.
"Defensively, we did exactly what we set out to do," ISU head coach Greg McDermott said. "Our big guys did a great job cleaning up the glass and Charles Boozer and Bryan Petersen were great on the defensive end. Our guards did a great job getting touches inside and Craig was efficient with the ball."
ISU shot just 33.3 percent from the field in the opening period, but forced nine Cougar turnovers to stay in the game. UH was leading the nation in fewest turnovers (9.2 tpg) prior to tip.
Justin Hamilton, who got his first start of his career, responded with a career-high 12 rebounds and eight points. Garrett added 12 points and five assists in the win. The Cyclones shot 56.7 percent from the field in the second half to tally a 44.4 percent outing for the game. ISU is 8-0 when shooting better than its opponent this season.
Brackins' 38 points was the best scoring output by a Big 12 player this season and the most points scored by a Cyclone since Marcus Fizer recorded 38 points vs. Baylor in 2000. It also ties for the 10th-best single-game scoring effort in ISU history.
For the second time this season, Brackins was selected as Big 12 Player of the Week after averaging 28.0 points and 9.5 rebounds in two games last week.
"Craig was fabulous against Houston," ISU head coach Greg McDermott said. "Defensively he did some good things and he was very active on the glass. He scored in a lot of different ways and it was one of the best offensive performances I have ever seen. It wasn't just on the block. He hit a couple of threes, had some mid-range shots go in and he attacked the offensive glass. It was just total complete game and he keeps getting better."
"It is a great feeling to get the award," Brackins said. "I played with a lot of confidence. I have been trying to more aggressive on the boards and I have been feeding off that on the offensive end. My teammates have been great in regards to getting me the ball in the right spot, which has made it much easier to find lanes to the basket."
The Cyclones will play host to Mercer on Wednesday (Dec. 31). Tip-off is set for 4 p.m.