A 33-point victory over the Wichita State Shockers leads to the largest win of the season for the Houston Cougars.

Defense leads to Cougars largest win of the season against Wichita State

The University of Houston Men's basketball team (19-5, 9-2) took a 76-43 wire-to-wire victory over the Wichita State Shockers (17-6, 5-5), Sunday afternoon, inside the Fertitta Center in Houston. The 33 point victory by the Cougars was their largest margin of the season while handing the Shockers their worst defeat since February 2003.

Making his return to the starting lineup in back-to-back games, sophomore guard Quentin Grimes scored a game-high 14 points (6-9 FG), to go along with six rebounds and five assists in the win.

"The most important thing our kids can do in our program is to surrender to our culture," head coach Kelvin Sampson said after the win. "The effort it takes to play here, the toughness that we required is not easy to do — especially for our young guys."

Early in the first half, the No. 25 Cougars set a tone defensively that would carry over throughout the game. At the 10:41 mark, Caleb Mill completed a chase-down block on Wichita State's Tyson Etienne, which led to a made 3-point field goal by the freshman guard.

Mill's rejection of Etienne summarized what could have been the Cougars' best defensive performance of the season. During the first period, Houston recorded 14 points off turnovers, eight steals and two blocks, while holding the Shockers to shoot an unpleasant 25.0% from the floor.

An exceptional defensive performance by the Cougars led to a 38-18 halftime led over Wichita State — Houston's lowest points allowed by any opponent this season.

"That was a tough game for Wichita St. today coming off back-to-back losses against Tulsa and Cincinnati," Sampson said. "We came out sharp on the defensive end, and since we are not a good jump-shooting team, we had to find a different way to win. One team was playing uphill while the other was playing down hill."

In his first game back after serving a one-game suspension, DeJon Jarreau helped the Cougars' second unit record a season-high 30 points, as the junior guard from New Orleans registered a dozen on 60% shooting from the field and seven rebounds off the bench.

"Every individual is starting to buy into the system more, and we are maturing more and more day by day," senior big man Chris Harris Jr said. "We are believing in our principals to become a better defensive team."

During their worst game in 17 years, Wichita St. was led by sophomore guard, Dexter Dennis, who finished with a team-high 10 points and six rebounds in the loss.

Up next, the Cougars will hit the road on Wednesday to face off against the (11-12, 4-6) UCF Bulls inside the Addition Financial Arena in Orlando, FL. Tip-off is slated for 8 P.M. CT.

Freshman guard Marcus Sasser scored a career-high 26 points in Cougars' overtime loss to the SMU Mustangs.

Cougars lose in overtime to Mustangs

Kelvin Sampson. Bob Levey/Getty Images

The No. 20 Houston Cougars held a 72-70 lead over the SMU Mustangs with 30 seconds remaining in overtime when sophomore guard Emmanuel Bandoumel connected on an off-balance 3-point field goal. The shot gave Bandoumel his seventh point on the night, but most importantly, helped the Mustangs take a 73-72 victory over the Cougars, Saturday evening, inside the Moody Coliseum in Dallas.

With the loss, the Cougars' three-game winning streak came to an end, as Houston drop to 10-3 (20-6 overall) in conference play.

In the best performance of his collegiate life, Houston's freshman guard Marcus Sasser scored a career-high 26 points (8-15 FG, 5-10 3PT) in the loss. With the game on the line late in the second half, Sasser stepped to the charity stripe to hit three free throws to send the game to overtime.

Down by 11 entering the halftime break, the Cougars outscored the Mustangs 36-25 in the second period to push a comeback surge. While Sasser would go on to score half of Houston's point in the final 20 minutes, the Cougars received some much-needed production off the bench from junior guard, Dejon Jarreau.

In his best game since coming back from a one-game suspension, Jarreau registered 15 points, three rebounds and three assists. Despite scoring on six points, senior big man Chris Harris Jr. pulled down 10 rebounds, in which seven came on the offensive glass.

In the win, Tyson Jolly led the Mustangs with 20 (5-7 FG, 10-10 FT), while Feron Hunt and Isiaha Mike each scored 15 points apeice.

Following the loss, the Cougars will look to return to their winning ways on Wednesday, when Houston takes on the 17-8, 9-3 Tulsa Golden Hurricane. Tip-off is slated for 8 p.m. CT inside the Fertitta Center in Houston.

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