Freshman guard Caleb Mills scored 22 of his career-best 27 points in the second half to lead the Cougars to a win.
Cougars' second-half surge leads to blowout win over Tulsa
Freshman guard Caleb Mills scored back-to-back field goals to extend the Houston Cougars' halftime lead to 11 coming out of the break. His hot start to the second half gave way to a 22-point explosion, as the Cougars took a 76-43 victory over the Tulsa Golden Hurricane, Wednesday night, inside the Fertitta Center in Houston. Following a one-point overtime loss to SMU on Saturday, the Cougars improve to 11-3 (21-6 overall) in conference play.
After averaging 5.0 points shooting 12% from the field over the previous two games, it was a complete 180 turnaround for Mills, as he ended the night with a career-best 27 points shooting 56.2% from the floor, 55% from behind the arc.
"I give all the credit to my teammates," Mills said after the win. "When I came into this game, I did not want to settle for 3's because my shot has been off over the past few games. Once my teammates helped me get going from the mid-range, everything else came easy for me."
Count 'em. 27 points for @calebmills_3. UH 62, Tulsa 38 (6:13/2H) #ForTheCity x #GoCoogs https://t.co/wQgiVU5NlH— Houston Men's Hoops 🏀 🐾 (@Houston Men's Hoops 🏀 🐾)1582171046.0
Despite the final score, the first half did not go as planned for the Cougars. After opening the game shooting 50% as a team, Houston was fortunate to hold a six-point lead at the half (26-20), as the Cougars went on to miss 11 of their next 13 shot attempts.
During the second half, UH build of their 7-0 run to close the first period en route to their 33-point win. Houston outscored Tulsa 50-23 in the final period, as sophomore guard Nate Hinton added 15 points to go along with six rebounds.
"We had our fair share of struggles throughout the year, especially with our play coming out of the second half, and it cost us some games this season," Hinton said. "We had to stay with an aggressive mindset and keep the defensive intensity going until that final buzzer sound."
In the loss, Martins Igbanu led the Golden Hurricane with 15 points, while Jeriah Horne added in 12 points and seven rebounds.
Following the win, the Cougars moved back into sole possession of first place in the American Athletic Conference standings, with Cincinnati falling at home to Central Florida on Wednesday.
Up next, the Cougars will travel to Memphis to take on the 18-8, 7-6 Memphis Tigers, Sunday, inside the FedExForum. Tip-off is slated for 1 P.M. CT.