COUGARS REPORT

Coogs heading to 3rd straight NCAA Tournament appearance, here's how they did it

The Cougars play their next game on Friday. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

Houston went into the American Athletic Conference Tournament as the No. 2 seed because Wichita State had a higher conference winning percentage during the regular season. Even though Houston and Wichita State split the regular season series 1-1, the Shockers had the better overall record on paper to secure the No. 1 seed.

"At 14-3 this year, we felt like you could have called us regular-season champions," head coach Kelvin Sampson said. "But (AAC officials) decided before the season started how they were going to do that."

It ended up working in favor of the Houston Cougars as they played three teams they have not lost to this season.

The AAC tournament started on Friday for the Cougars as they awaited the winner between Tulsa and Tulane.

The Green Wave got the best of the Golden Hurricanes and defeated them 77-70, setting up a Friday night date with the Cougars.

Houston played Tulane twice this season winning by 21 and 23 points respectfully.

Friday night's contest was no different from their regular season meetings, as the Cougars bested the Green Wave by a score of 77-52. It was not a very close contest but DeJon Jarreau did something historic.

The senior guard finished with 15 points, 10 rebounds and a career high 10 assists to finish with a triple double. This was the first triple double by a Houston Cougar since Bo Outlaw had one in 1993 against Texas A&M.

"The fact that it happens very seldom in college tells you how special the guys are who do get them," Sampson said. "I'm so happy for him because that's going to be a memory. His unselfishness, his toughness, those are the things that show in triple-doubles."

Their next game against Memphis proved to be their most difficult contest of the tournament.

The Tigers defeated UCF 70-62 to advance to the AAC semifinal.

Memphis and Houston played each other less than a week ago where Tramon Mark hit a last minute buzzer beater to secure a 67-64 victory for the Cougars.

The first half was all Houston as the Cougars took a 41-29 lead into halftime.

Boogie Ellis and the Tigers wouldn't give up as they fought their way back and cut the Cougars' lead to two points in the second half.

However, Houston's stellar defense was able to keep them in the game.

The Cougars forced the Tigers to commit 14 turnovers and Quentin Grimes led the way with 21 points. Justin Gorham added 15 points and Marcus Sasser contributed 14 as well.

The final was a 76-74 victory for the Cougars as Memphis struggled from the free throw line shooting only 55.6% and Houston shot 86.4% from the line.

Their final matchup was their third consecutive AAC tournament final against Cincinnati.

The Bearcats defeated SMU and Wichita State to reach their 4th consecutive AAC championship game.

Cincinnati won the previous two championships over the Cougars in 2018 and 2019. (2020 tournament was canceled due to COVID-19 reasons.)

The 2021 AAC championship game was not a close contest by any means. Houston took a 41-27 lead at halftime and didn't look back. The final 5 minutes of the game saw coach Sampson empty his entire bench.

This title mirrored that of the Cougars and Bearcats regular-season matchup three weeks earlier, when Houston won 90-52 at home.

The largest margin of victory in AAC tournament history was when SMU beat Cincinnati by 15 points in 2017. That record has now been shattered as Houston defeated the Bearcats 91-54. (A 37 point margin.)

For the second consecutive game, Quentin Grimes was the leading scorer with 21 points and was named MVP of the AAC tournament as well.

The Cougars are off to their third consecutive NCAA Tournament.

Just a few hours after Houston cut the nets down in Fort Worth, it was announced that the Cougars would be a No. 2 seed in the tournament and will face the Horizon League champions Cleveland State Vikings.

That game will be played Friday, March 19th at 6:15 CT on truTV.

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The losing streak continues

Mariners get walk-off win over short-staffed Astros

Alex De Goti had an impressive debut. Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

After a brutal homestand capped off by losing five players to the IL for health and safety protocols, the once 5-1 Astros brought their now 6-6 record to T-Mobile park in Seattle to try and right the ship. They'd have to do it with new and young players in the lineup using the "next man up" mentality to get some wins against the first-place Mariners.

Though the young bats would work themselves into a lead most of the night, Houston's bullpen wouldn't be able to hold the Mariners down, with Seattle ultimately walking things off in the ninth.

Final Score: Mariners 6, Astros 5

Astros' Record: 6-7, fourth in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Anthony Misiewicz (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Ryne Stanek (0-1)

After a quiet start, Houston gets three in the fifth

After cruising through the Astros through the first four innings, allowing only a walk over that span, Houston was able to put up a big inning against Yusei Kikuchi in the top of the fifth. Carlos Correa notched the first hit of the night, followed by a walk by Taylor Jones to put two on base.



That brought Alex De Goti, making his major-league debut, to the plate and, in his second career at-bat, would get his first hit and RBI, bringing in Correa from second on a single. A second run would come on the same play on a throwing error, then Chaz McCormick made it a three-run inning with an RBI-double, putting Houston out front 3-0.

Urquidy comes an out shy of a quality start

Meanwhile, Jose Urquidy was doing well through five innings. On track for a much-needed quality start, the Mariners would tag him in the bottom of the sixth, getting three-straight hits to bring in two runs to lead off the frame and leaving a runner on second base with no outs.

Urquidy would rebound to get the next two batters on strikeouts, but at 90 pitches and with a left-handed hitter up next, Dusty Baker would bring in lefty Brooks Raley to try and get out of the inning with the one-run lead intact. Raley would do his job, putting Uruidy's line final: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 90 P.

Teams trade two-run seventh innings

The young bats for Houston struck again in the top of the seventh, with Jones and De Goti leading it off with back-to-back singles before Jason Castro would load the bases with a walk. With two outs, Aledmys Diaz would push the lead back to three with a two-RBI single, making it 5-2.

With Raley out after facing his one batter, next out of Houston's bullpen was Bryan Abreu to help maintain Houston's lead. Instead, he would give up two runs on two hits and a walk while getting just two outs before Baker moved on to Blake Taylor, who would get the last out of the seventh with Houston hanging on to a one-run lead at 5-4.

Mariners get the walk-off win

Taylor remained in the game in the bottom of the eighth, and after getting an out, would allow a game-tying solo home run to Evan White before injuring himself trying to field an infield single. Ryne Stanek entered and finished off the eighth, sending the tie game to the ninth.

After Houston came up empty in the top half, Stanek remained in the game in the bottom of the ninth, attempting to force extras. Back-to-back walks ended Stanek's night, with the Astros hoping Ryan Pressly could bail them out. He couldn't, though, giving up the walk-off hit as the Mariners would take the opener, 6-5.

Up Next: Game two of this three-game set will start an hour earlier on Saturday, with first pitch at 8:10 PM Central. Zack Greinke (1-1, 4.08 ERA) will try to rebound from a poor start his last time out for the Astros, while the Mariners will hand the ball to Chris Flexen (1-0, 4.50 ERA).

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