The #2 Houston Cougars ponied up one last time at Moody Coliseum, beating SMU, 80-65. In his final collegiate game in Dallas, Marcus Sasser scored 20 points, grabbed four rebounds, and had four assists to lead the UH effort.
SMU jumped out front early, but UH withstood the assault and tied the game before the under-16 timeout. The Coogs led most of the game and stretched the lead to 23 points with 8:04 left.
But the Cougars let the foot off the gas a bit, and SMU crept back into it, cutting the lead to 11 with 3:24 left. Then, after spending 36+ minutes in free throw purgatory, the Cougars hit 5/6 down the stretch to ice the game. Before that late stretch, UH was 11/20 at the FT line.
“When we got up 23, I thought we got a little tad selfish in shot selection. Let go of the rope a little bit on defense,” Kelvin Sampson said after the game. “But when you get to almost the month of March, the last thing I’m gonna do is start slicing and dicing road wins.”
Houston is now 9-0 on the road (2-0 neutral) for the season, the only team in the country that is perfect on the road. The Coogs are also 2-0 in neutral-site games.
J’Wan Roberts played well, going 4/4 from the floor with ten rebounds. Jamal Shead scored 13 points, had eight assists (to just one turnover), and led all players with a +/- of 19. It was his 10th game this season with seven or more assists (out of 26).
Jarace Walker continued to score well (14 points) but was limited to just four boards, including one on the offensive glass. Tramon Mark did not shoot well (2/8) but scored 11 points and had nine rebounds.
Houston shot 49.1% from the floor and made 10/30 three-pointers.
The Cougars turn their eyes to the Sunday showdown with rival Memphis. The Tigers escaped with a home win over UCF on a layup with seven seconds left. The Tigers attempted just 44 shots due to 24 turnovers. That performance can partly be blamed on Kendrick Davis missing the game due to an injury. Davis will try to play against the Cougars. Houston heads into the game 24-2 (11-1 AAC), two games up on Memphis (20-6, 10-3).
Check out GoCoogs.com’s 12 pieces of UH/SMU basketball content over the two games this season.
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