Third-ranked Houston capped off its non-conference schedule Wednesday night with an 83-44 drubbing of the McNeese State Cowboys at home. Freshmen Emanuel Sharp and Ja’Vier Francis had career nights to lead the way.
The Cougars came out sluggishly on offense but made up for it with their characteristic domination on the glass. Houston pulled down seven offensive boards in the first eight minutes and took an 11-7 lead at the under-12 timeout.
Kelvin Sampson subbed in Sharp and Francis, and both made an immediate impact, as UH outscored McNeese 31-12 for the rest of the first half. Francis made his presence felt by grabbing five offensive rebounds in his first six minutes, including a skyscraping putback slam. Meanwhile, Sharp got hot from outside and hit four threes in a row and five total in the first half.
Marcus Sasser had back-to-back threes shortly before finding Terrance Arceneaux in the corner for another three. triple. Then Emanuel Sharp capped off his first-half fireworks with a deep catch-and-shoot three in the final seconds to give UH a 42-19 halftime lead.
Houston moved the ball well in the first half, assisting on all but two of the team’s 15 first-half field goals, 11 of which were three-pointers. Jamal Shead and Tramon Mark combined for seven of those assists, despite both struggling from the floor.
The Cougar onslaught continued out of the break, burying the Cowboys with a 21-2 run to begin the half (and a 33-4 run over 11.5 minutes spanning both halves). From there, Houston would cruise to its 12th victory.
Francis was perfect from the floor (9/9), finishing with 23 points and 13 rebounds. It was his third career double-double and second in a row. Sasser finished with 17 points, while Shead had nine assists.