Houston's freshman guard Caleb Mills scored a career-high 23 points in Cougars' loss to Oklahoma State.

Cougars four-game win streak comes to a halt against Oklahoma State

Cougars four-game win streak comes to a halt against Oklahoma State
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With a little under three minutes remaining in the second half, Oklahoma State's guard Lindy Waters III scored a 3-point field goal over Houston's Brison Gorham as time expired off the shot clock. The made basket by Waters gave the Cowboys a late three-point advantage, in which Oklahoma State closed out the game on an 11-5 run.

Although the Cougars fought until the final buzzer, their efforts were not enough en route to a 61-55 defeat to Oklahoma State, Sunday afternoon, inside the Fertitta Center in Houston. With the loss, the Cougars fall to 6-3 on the season with their four-game winning streak coming to an end.

"Oklahoma State had a really good game plan and they executed it well," Cougars' head coach Kelvin Sampson said. "Coach [Mike] Boynton and his coaching staff should be really proud of the work they did today. This was a great win for them, but a disappointing loss for us."

Despite still coming out on the losing end, the final scored does not justify the tough task the Cougars overcame late in the game. Houston eased an 18-point deficit late in the second half thanks to a career night from freshman guard, Caleb Mills. Mills scored 20 of his career-best 23 points in the second half while shooting 44% from the floor. He was only one of two players who scored in double-figures for the Cougars, as Nate Hinton recorded 11 points (3-12 FG, 3-9 3PT) in the loss.

While shooting 43% from the floor to open the game, Houston led 16-15 when OSU's Dee Mitchell scored a 15-foot jumper to put the Cowboys ahead by one midway through the first half. Oklahoma State went on an 18-3 run, as the Cougars missed their final 10 field-goal attempts to close the half, as well as shooting 1-15 from the floor in the last 10 minutes of the first period.

"Today we disrespected the program and that is extremely disappointing," Sampson said. "It's rare that we let a team come in our building and out-compete us, and that is the thing that bothers me the most. To me, it does not matter who we play, we have to play to the culture of our program."

In the win, Yor Anei led the Cowboys with 18 points and eight rebounds, while forward Cameron McGriff added in 12 points with a game-high 10 rebounds for Oklahoma State.

Following the loss, the Cougars will look to return to their winning ways on Thursday, when they take on UTEP inside the Fertitta Center in Houston. Tip-off is slated for 7 P.M. CT.

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Coogs beat the Sooners, 87-85. Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images.

Jamal Shead hit a short follow shot with 0.4 seconds left and No. 1 Houston beat Oklahoma 87-85 on Saturday night, giving coach Kelvin Sampson a victory over one of his former schools.

Shead missed a driving layup attempt, but corralled the rebound and put the Cougars back ahead after they blew a 15-point lead. Emanuel Sharp tipped away a desperation pass by Oklahoma’s Milos Uzan as time expired.

“The main thing (on the last shot) was to get it to the rim,” Sampson said. “We weren’t going to shoot anything outside of 5 feet. There were three ways to win that game — a whistle, make the shot or (grab) an offensive rebound and put it in — and we got the third one.”

Sampson credited the result to Houston’s “winning DNA. We had a lot of things go against us tonight. … We were just plugging the holes in the boat up.”

L.J. Cryer led Houston (26-3, 13-3 Big 12) with 23 points, making 5 of 9 3-pointers. J’Wan Roberts added 20 points on 10-of-12 shooting, and Shead scored 14 points. Houston shot 56.7% from the field and Oklahoma was at 52.7%.

Rivaldo Soares had 16 points for Oklahoma (19-10, 7-9). Le’Tre Darthard had 15 points, finishing 5 of 7 from 3-point range.

Sampson coached Oklahoma from 1994 to 2006 and ranks second in program history with 279 wins and first in winning percentage (.719). Before Saturday, he’d never coached against the Sooners, but Houston’s entry into the Big 12 for this basketball season provided that opportunity.

Sampson received a warm welcome as he entered the Lloyd Noble Arena court, with many fans applauding, cheering and standing. Just before player introductions, Sampson and his three assistants with Oklahoma ties — former players Hollis Price, Quannas White and Kellen Sampson, his son — were individually recognized with announcements and pictured on the video board.

“The memories that I will take from here are just amazing,” Kelvin Sampson said. “Oklahoma will always be home in a lot of ways.”

Houston made its first week this season at No. 1 a successful one, with two wins. The Cougars are a game ahead of No. 8 Iowa State in the conference standings with two games left in the regular season and remain in the conversation for the overall No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Houston has won eight of the last nine games it has played as the No. 1-ranked team and is 35-5 overall while atop the AP poll.

Oklahoma dropped its second game of the week against a top-10 opponent, having lost 58-45 at Iowa State on Wednesday night.

The Sooners pushed Houston to the limit. Houston led 67-52 with 12:01 left, but the Sooners methodically closed that gap and Javian McCollum’s layup with 11.8 seconds left tied it at 85. It came after a hustle play by Uzan, who tracked down a rebound off a missed free throw and threw it off the leg of Sharp, allowing it to carom out of bounds.

Oklahoma coach Porter Moser said the vibe in the Sooners’ locker room was “tough. It wasn’t like they were happy to be close. They’re hurting. That’s a good sign. … That’s the elite of the elite and we’ve got to find a way to win that. That’s my job.

“I thought they were resilient battling back. Houston made tough shots, open shots, good shots. They do a lot of good things … but I thought we did too. We played the best team in the country, but we fell short. The margin of error when you play a team that good is small.”

Godwin went 6 of 6 from the field and led Oklahoma with 17 points, missing only the one free throw in six attempts as well. He also had seven rebounds.

BIG PICTURE

Houston: Sampson surely appreciated the warm welcome from fans on his return to Oklahoma, but he’s undoubtedly glad to have the emotional game against the Sooners over with. Now he can push the Cougars to focus on finishing the regular season strong and prepare them for the postseason.

Oklahoma: A win over the nation’s No. 1 team might have pushed the Sooners up a line or two in NCAA tournament seeding, but the loss shouldn’t damage their postseason hopes too much. Oklahoma probably needs at least one win next week — at home against Cincinnati or at Texas — to stay comfortably off the NCAA bubble heading into the Big 12 Tournament.

UP NEXT:

Houston: At Central Florida on Wednesday night.

Oklahoma: Host Cincinnati on Tuesday night.

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