Freshman guard Marcus Sasser scored a game-high 21 points in Cougars' win over the Cincinnati Bearcats.

Cougars reclaim top seed in win over Cincinnati

After dropping two of their previous three games, the No. 25 Houston Cougars picked up a much-need victory on Sunday in a 68-55 win over the Cincinnati Bearcats inside the Frittata Center in Houston. With the win, the Cougars improve to 12-4 in conference play (22-7) to reclaim their spot atop of the American Athletic Conference.

"To win by shooting 36% with 22 offensive rebounds, it proves that these kids have learned how to win without making shots," head coach Kelvin Sampson said after the win. "It speaks volumes to this group of kids, and this is something we have preached since day one."

Despite the win, the Cougars struggled with their shoot from the floor as it became one of their worst shooting performances of the season. Marcus Sasser led the way with a game-high 21 points in 33 minutes, as the sharpshooting guard recorded a dozen in the final period shooting 8-for-16 (50%) from the field, 5-for-12 (41.6%) from 3-point range. UH led 49-44 when Sasser scored nine straight points for Houston during a 15-5 run to extend their second-half lead.

Houston trailed 30-25 when freshman guard Caleb Mills connected on a 3-point field goal to pull the Cougars within two points. Following the shot, Houston closed out the half on a 13-1 run to take a 38-31 lead into the halftime break. Houston's defense was on full display throughout the second half, as the Cougars held the Bearcats to 24 points while shooting 24% from the field, and a disastrous 9.0% from behind the arc.

"We knew how high the stakes were coming into the game and the importance of it," sophomore guard Nate Hinton said. "Trying to make winning plays were the biggest emphasis, and we had to stick to that mindset."

In addition to Sasser, Hinton added in 16 points and seven rebounds, while Mills poured in 15 in the win. The Cougars pulled down 43 boards as senior big man Chris Harris recorded 11 rebounds and four blocks.

In the loss, Tre Scott led the Bearcats with 17 points, while Jarron Cumberland added in 11 points shooting 1-for-7 from the field, 1-for-5 from 3-point range.

Up next, the Cougars will travel to Connecticut to take on the 17-12, 8-8 UConn Huskies, Thursday, inside the Gampel Pavilion in Storrs. Tip-off is slated for 6 P.M. CT.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

Martin Truex Jr. won his 2nd race of the season last week. Photo via: Wiki Commons.

NASCAR returns to the Commonwealth of Virginia for the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway. This is the first of two races here at this track as they will race on Sunday afternoon. This will be different from the normal night race they usually have here as this will definitely affect the racing surface considering how much the sun could make the track slick. It should be a fun race come Sunday.

Last week, Martin Truex Jr. passed Denny Hamlin to capture his second win of the season after rain moved the race to Sunday. He became the first driver to win multiple races after a fierce battle with his teammate Denny Hamlin. The race was filled with tons of wrecks including a fifteen car pileup including Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch. It was one of the better races of the season as there was lots of beating and banging.

The race was not without controversy but not the kind you would expect. Early in the race Rick Ware Racing teammates Cody Ware and James Davison were involved in an altercation. The two were battling towards the back of the pack when Ware decided to drive through his teammate in turn four. The race got much worse for Cody Ware as he was involved in three more cautions all throughout the race. Many people around the sport were quite perturbed by his antics including broadcaster Mike Joy as he was audibly annoyed after Ware spun out later in the race. Many have questioned if the fifth-year driver should even be in the car and overall I can understand why some of those people think that. In his five years of driving, he has finished on the lead lap one time. I hope that he is able to figure it out and find success in the future, but this was not a good look.

The slump continues for two-time champion Kyle Busch

Throughout the race, Busch was running okay for the most part but towards the closing laps of the race he and Chris Buescher got together triggering a fifteen car pileup. Despite all this, he was able to rebound to a respectable tenth place finish. This has been more than likely the toughest stretch of his career since his championship in 2019. Many would say that the omission of Practice and Qualifying has really affected his performance. Whatever the issue is, this team really needs to find some speed, or he could be in danger of missing the playoffs. I look for this team to bounce back considering how talented he is.

Prediction

The driver that I have winning this week is Kyle Larson. This has been an incredible rebound season for Larson as he currently sits fourth in points. He is also second in laps led only to Denny Hamlin. Richmond has been a great track for him as it fits his driving style perfectly as he can run the outside line and find grip where others can't. This track is also rather sentimental to him considering he won his first pole award here during his rookie season in 2014. While he may not have the results he would want he has always been extremely fast here and even won back in 2017. I look for him to capture his second victory of 2021 come Sunday.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome