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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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