Not everyone that walks into Tulane Gym at Avron B. Fogelman Arena in the Devlin Fieldhouse walks out a winner, but #1 Houston pulled away from the Green Wave, 80-60. The Coogs used a methodical inside game, largely featuring J’Wan Roberts, to jump ahead of Tulane early. A 22-9 Houston run took the sell-out crowd out of it. But the Greenies chipped away at the 13-point lead, cutting it to 8 at the half.
Marcus Sasser came alive to start the second half, scoring eight-straight points to build the lead to 16 before a Tulane timeout. However, the Wave would not go away and cut the lead to five points. But Houston responded once again, this time pulling away for good.
The UH ball movement was crisp over the Tulane matchup zone. Sasser thrived against it in the second half, finishing the game with 23 points. He hit 7/12 three-point attempts. J’Wan Roberts hit all six shots he attempted in the first 12 minutes and scored 15 on the night.
Before the game, Kelvin Sampson called Tulane’s Kevin Cross the best-passing big man in the country. Cross scored 15 but could not find many driving guards, limiting the Green Wave’s preferred offense.
“If you give ’em space, they’re allowed to make multiple moves,” Kelvin Sampson said about the Tulane guards. “But we were forcing them to kick it.
“If you watch them play most of their games, teams are so afraid of their shooters that they just let them drive,” Sampson said. “We just trusted our system.”
Houston moved to 6-0 in the AAC and 18-1 overall.