Houston runs Virginia out of the gym

Kyler Edwards and Marcus Sasser dominated UVA / Photo by Mario Puente

The #15 Houston Cougars played suffocating defense, shot 55% from three-point range, and wore out Virginia, 67-47, Tuesday night.

UH held UVA to 7/21 shooting in the first half and turned the Hoos over a dozen times. UH outscored UVA 14-0 in points off turnovers in the first half while only committing two of their own.

The Coogs hit as many three-pointers in the first half as Virginia had total field goals. The Cavaliers did not fair much better in the second half, going 8/22.

“Houston’s defense (was) really impactful, made it difficult for Virginia to run what they wanted to run,” ESPN analyst Jay Bilas said at the half.

Virginia finished with 17 turnovers, and the Cougars had 12 steals.

Kyler Edwards made five three-pointers in a breakout performance despite being hobbled by a recurring leg issue. He left the game with 18 points. Marcus Sasser played like an All-American and finished with 19 points, four assists, and three steals.

The Cougar defense was relentless, giving Virginia a taste of their own medicine. UVA is considered one of the country’s best defenses, but over the last 3-4 years, UH has put itself right in the middle of any conversation about great defensive teams.

The Cavs were not ready for UH’s in-your-face, up-and-down play. Houston out-efforted the Cavaliers for 40 minutes, and the Hoos had had no answer for Kelvin Sampson’s defense. Nor did they have anyone to compete with the UH athletes. Sasser was the best player on the floor, Edwards played a tremendous game, Taze Moore continued to show he’s a freakish athlete, and Jamal Shead made numerous hustle plays before fouling out.

Houston moved to 3-0 with the win and will head to the Maui Jim Maui Invitational (via Las Vegas) this weekend and play Butler on Monday at 3:30 CST.

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