Caleb Mills and Fabian White Jr. lead the Houston Cougars with a win to close out the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic

Cougars win Hawaiian Classic with victory over Huskies

Cougars win Hawaiian Classic with victory over Huskies
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It was a holly jolly Christmas for the Houston Cougars as they closed the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic with a 75-71 victory over the No. 21 Washington Huskies Wednesday night inside the Stan Sheriff Center in Hawaii. With the win, the Cougars closed the mid-season tournament as champions while improving to 10-3 on the season.

After a solid performance in their previous game against Georgia Tech, freshman guard Caleb Mills and junior forward Fabian White Jr. scored 19 points apiece to help lead a comeback victory for the Cougars. White earned the tournament's Most Outstanding Player award while shooting 7-for-13 (53%) from the field.

Down 36-31 at the half, Houston trailed by as many as 14 points early in the first period. Behind a 12-point second-half surge by White, the Cougars outscored the Huskies 44-35 in the final 24 minutes en route to their fourth straight victory.

While playing from behind most of the game, the Cougars' offensive woes played the most significant part in their early struggles against the Huskies. Houston only connected on 37.3% of their shots while Washington shot 46.2% from the floor. Sophomore guard Quentin Grimes ended the night with an all-around performance of 14 points, six rebounds, six assists and two steals in the win.

In the loss, Isaiah Stewart led the Huskies in scoring with a game-high 25 points (8-for-13 FG, 9-11 FT) to go along with eight rebounds and two blocks.

Following the win, the Cougars will open their American Athletic Conference play with a showdown against UCF on Friday, Jan. 3, inside the Fertitta Center in Houston. Tip-off is slated for 6 P.M. CT.

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Yordan Alvarez had four hits on Tuesday night. Composite Getty Image.

Salvador Perez hit a game-ending single in the 10th inning, and the Kansas City Royals beat the Houston Astros 4-3 on Tuesday night for their fifth consecutive victory.

Garrett Hampson began the Kansas City 10th on second as the automatic runner, replacing Vinnie Pasquantino. Hampson raced home when Perez led off the inning with a single to center against Wander Suero (0-1).

“We’re gonna play hard,” Perez said. “We’re gonna do our best, especially right now. We've got new comfort.”

James McArthur (1-0) pitched two scoreless innings for the win.

Perez and Nelson Velázquez each had two hits for the Royals. Bobby Witt Jr. and Maikel Garcia each drove in a run.

Nick Anderson, Chris Stratton, John Schreiber and McArthur combined for five scoreless innings of four-hit ball in relief of Royals starter Cole Ragans.

“These guys are incredible,” Ragans said of the bullpen. “They pitched incredible. They kept us right there. That’s really, really big.”

Witt's biggest contribution may have been a diving stop on a two-out single by Jeremy Peña in the top of the 10th. Had the ball gotten past the young shortstop, the Astros likely would have taken the lead.

“I thought it did have a chance of going through,” Peña said. “I’ll shout out to Bobby Witt. (He) made a nice play.”

Yordan Alvarez had four hits and two RBIs for Houston, which had won two in a row. Peña had two hits and scored a run.

The Astros loaded the bases with three straight singles to start the first inning, but Ragans limited the damage to a run-scoring fielder’s choice for Yainer Diaz.

“I don’t think (Ragans) had his best stuff,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said. “That’s a good lineup, and they made him work. (But) if we turn that double play in the first or he’s able to get Alvarez out one of those times with two strikes, he’s coming out of there with one or maybe no runs. Credit to him really."

Alvarez singled in Peña with two out in the second, and then doubled home Mauricio Dubón in the fourth.

Ragans surrendered 10 hits in five innings for Kansas City. He struck out five and walked one.

Houston went 5 for 18 with runners in scoring position and left 13 runners on base.

“We had some opportunities to get some guys in (with) less than two outs," Houston manager Joe Espada said. "We just couldn’t capitalize.”

Houston right-hander Cristian Javier was charged with three runs, two earned, and five hits in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out four and walked three.

Maikel Garcia’s sacrifice fly in the fifth stopped Javier’s scoreless streak at 15 innings to start the season. Witt drove in Hunter Renfroe with a two-out triple, and then scored on an error on third baseman Alex Bregman.

TRANSACTIONS

Astros: Placed LHP Framber Valdez on the 10-day injured list with left elbow inflammation. They selected the contract of Suero from Triple-A Sugar Land to take his place. The Astros also recalled LHP Parker Mushinski from Sugar Land and optioned RHP Blair Henley to the minors. To make room on the 40-man roster, the Astros transferred RHP Oliver Ortega to the 60-day IL.

Royals: Acquired RHP Colin Selby from Pittsburgh for minor league pitcher Connor Oliver. To make room on the 40-man roster for Selby, LHP Josh Taylor was moved to the 60-day IL. The Royals also signed RHP Zach Davies to a minor league deal.

UP NEXT

The Astros and Royals continue their three-game series Wednesday. RHP Spencer Arrighetti will make his major league debut for Houston against Seth Lugo (1-0, 0.71 ERA).

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