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Houston continues to dominate conference play

Houston moved up to the No. 5 ranked team in the county. Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images.

The Cougars headed to the Big Easy Thursday, Jan. 28th and celebrated a blow out victory without one of their best players.

Quentin Grimes was out of action against Tulane after spraining his ankle in practice earlier in the week. Tramon Mark started in his place.

Normally guys like Marcus Sasser, DeJon Jarreau, or Justin Gorham would have stepped up in Grimes' absence, but this game an unlikely star shined bright in New Orleans.

Seldom-used transfer guard Cameron Tyson had a career night with 31 points and hit a career-best nine 3-pointers.

Tyson, a reserve in his first season with Houston since transferring from Idaho, entered the game having played in just seven contests and was averaging only three points per game.

Tyson attempted 15 of his 18 shots outside the 3-point line. He also tied a Houston record for 3s in a game. For the first time all season, neither Grimes nor Sasser were the leading scorer for the Cougars.

Houston took a 44-14 lead at halftime and never looked back. It turned into an open gym style game at the YMCA towards the end of the contest.

The Cougars secured an 83-60 victory over the Green Wave and continued their quest to conquer the American Athletic Conference.

Houston's next game proved to be more challenging against their in-state rivals SMU.

Defense was a major factor in the first half, for neither team could get any kind of offensive rhythm going. The Cougars were slightly better offensively and took a 28-24 lead into halftime.

It was as if SMU ran out of gas on the defensive end in the second half, as Houston scored 42 second half points en route to a 70-42 victory and remain undefeated at home this season. This is the second time the Cougars held the opponent's scoring to under the 50-point threshold. Their first time was when they held Lamar to 46 points on their opening day.

Marcus Sasser led the way with 19 points for the Cougars after only score 3 points in his previous game against Tulane.

Justin Gorham also contributed with 9 points and 17 rebounds. This is his 8th straight game with 10 or more rebounds.

"Rebounding is heart, and nobody's heart is bigger than Justin's," Coach Kelvin Sampson said. "Justin has gotten better. He has fully embraced rebounding. It couldn't have been a better match."

Houston out rebounded SMU 45-33 and committed 10 turnovers.

The holy trinity of Houston Cougar basketball continues to be commanding defense, out rebounding opponents, and superior guard play. If they continue to play to their strengths, this team can compete with anyone.

ONE THING TO NOTE: SMU scored the first two points of the game which made it the first time Houston trailed in over 189 minutes. Before Sunday, the Cougars last trailed with 13:02 remaining in the first half against Tulane on Jan. 9. Houston had not trailed in 5 games before the Mustangs hit this shot.

MOVING UP: With Texas losing to Oklahoma last week, Houston moved up to the No. 5 ranked team in the county. As it stands the Cougars are 15-1 (10-1 CONF) and are three games ahead of Wichita State for first place in the AAC.

UP NEXT: Houston hits the road to take on East Carolina Wednesday night.

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Houston's offense had another strong day at the plate in Seattle against the Mariners on Wednesday. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

After striking a deal with the Mariners before Tuesday's game, along with a reported deal with the Marlins on Wednesday before the finale, the Astros continued to try and bolster their bullpen with fresh arms while also focusing on this series against Seattle. Having won the night prior to even it up, it came down to the rubber game on Wednesday afternoon to decide the series.

Final Score: Astros 11, Mariners 4

Astros' Record: 63-40, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jake Odorizzi (4-5)

Losing Pitcher: Yusei Kikuchi (6-6)

Astros continue to score runs in Seattle

Just like in the earlier games in this series, the Astros had no problems offensively. They strung together four consecutive one-run innings, starting in the top of the second when they loaded the bases, then got an RBI groundout by Myles Straw to go up 1-0. In the top of the third, Yuli Gurriel drove one in on a two-out RBI double, bringing in Jose Altuve, who led the inning off with a double of his own. Chas McCormick led off with a single in the fourth, then later scored on an RBI single by Aledmys Diaz.

The fourth run in as many innings came in the top of the fifth, as Gurriel would notch his second RBI with a solo homer to start that inning, pushing the lead to 4-0. They didn't stop there, and neither did Gurriel, as he would get RBI number three on the day as part of a four-run top of the sixth, with RBI hits him, Altuve, Diaz, and Carlos Correa, doubling the lead to 8-0.

Odorizzi gets to the sixth before allowing two homers

The run support gave Jake Odorizzi plenty of leeway, which he didn't need until the bottom of the sixth. He held Seattle scoreless over the first five frames, allowing just four baserunners on a hit by pitch, a walk, and two singles, all peppered over that span and erased in each inning. Kyle Seager would get the Mariners on the board in the bottom of the sixth, blasting a one-out solo homer to cut the lead to seven runs at 8-1. After a single in the next at-bat, recently traded Abraham Toro made it four games in a row with a homer, this one a two-run shot to cut the lead to 8-3 and end Odorizzi's day. His final line: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 2 HR, 95 P.

Houston wins the series

Houston brought in Brooks Raley to finish the sixth, issuing two walks but stranding them to keep it a five-run lead. Myles Straw helped push that back to six in the top of the seventh, reaching on a single to start the innings, then stealing both second and third to get in position for Diaz's third RBI of the day, a groundout to make it 9-3. Cristian Javier was the next reliever out for the Astros, but he would not make it through the bottom of the seventh, allowing a single and three walks, the third with the bases loaded to bring in a run.

Bryan Abreu was brought in to get out of the jam, getting a strikeout to end the seventh. Then, in the top of the eighth, Kyle Tucker would put two more runs on the board with a two-run homer making the lead seven runs at 11-4. Abreu remained in for the bottom of the eighth, erasing two one-out singles to get through the frame. Brandon Bielak took over in the bottom of the ninth to close things out, posting a 1-2-3 inning to wrap up the win and give Houston the series victory.

Up Next: Houston will travel down the coast to San Fransisco before getting a day off on Thursday. They'll pick up an exciting three-game series with the Giants on Friday, with the opener slated to start at 8:45 PM Central. Framber Valdez (6-2, 2.97 ERA) will take the mound for the Astros, while San Fransisco's starter is TBD.

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