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

Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

After the big offensive showing to take the opener on Thursday, the Astros entered Friday's game at Globe Life Field against the Rangers just one win or Angels loss away from securing their spot in the playoffs. Here is how the game unfolded:

Final Score (10 innings): Rangers 5, Astros 4.

Record: 29-29, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Brett Martin (1-1, 1.98 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Enoli Paredes (3-3, 3.05 ERA).

Urquidy goes seven while allowing two

The Rangers would strike first in Friday's game, getting a two-out solo home run against Jose Urquidy in the bottom of the second to grab the early 1-0 lead. Urquidy did relatively well on the night, though he would allow another solo homer in the bottom of the fifth. Those were the only two runs he allowed, working in and out of some trouble throughout the game on his way to finishing seven innings. His final line: 7.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 2 HR, 98 P.

Houston grabs their first lead late

Unlike their hot night at the plate the night prior, it took the Astros until the fifth inning to get on the board. It came after Carlos Correa hit a leadoff single, then came all the way around to score on an RBI-triple by George Springer, making it a 1-1 tie at the time.

After the Rangers went back in front 2-1 in the bottom of the inning on their second solo homer of the night, Alex Bregman would tie it up again with a solo home run of his own, making it 2-2. Houston would get their first lead of the night in the top of the eighth, with Altuve working a leadoff walk before scoring later in the inning on an RBI-single by Yuli Gurriel.

Rangers get the walk-off to keep Houston waiting for playoff bid

After Urquidy, Blake Taylor would take over on the mound in the bottom of the eighth, retiring the Rangers in order for a scoreless inning to hold the one-run lead. Still 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth, Houston turned to their closer, Ryan Pressly. After two quick outs, he would allow a game-tying solo home run, making it 3-3 to postpone Houston's celebration at least another inning as the game headed to extras.

In the top of the tenth, Jose Altuve was placed on second as the free runner. He advanced to third on a groundout to start the inning, then scored on a sac fly by Alex Bregman, making it a 4-3 lead for Houston. Enoli Paredes would load the bases before Texas would tie the game on a sac fly in the bottom of the inning, keeping runners on second and third. Houston made the change to Brooks Raley to try and extend the game another inning, but instead, the Rangers would get the walk-off win, spoiling Houston's chance to clinch their playoff spot themselves with a win.

Up Next: The third game of this four-game set will get underway at 6:05 PM Central on Saturday. On the mound for Texas will be Kyle Gibson (2-6, 5.87 ERA), and, as of now, the Astros still have Lance McCullers Jr. (3-3, 4.24 ERA) listed as their starter.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome