A second-half block party leads to a Cougars' victory over the Bobcats.
Houston Cougars get hard-fought win over Texas State
Texas State guard Mason Harrell drove to the lane with the intent to score an easy layup for the Bobcats in transition. Unfortunately for Texas State, DeJon Jarreau rejected Harrell's layup in his attempt to cut into the Cougars' lead late in the second half. Jarreau's block on Harrell was one of 10 second-half rejections that played a tremendous factor in the Cougars 68-60 win over Texas State, Wednesday night, inside the Fertitta Center in Houston.
After a subpar defensive performance in the first half, the Bobcats held a 29-28 lead over the Cougars into the break. Houston's defense allowed Texas State to connect on 39% of their shots from the field, 43% from behind the arc. They picked up their defensive intensity in the second half, as the Cougars held the Bobcats to 30% shooting from the floor, 11% on 3-point field attempts.
"Texas State is a hard team to play against, and I'm not sure we could have played this well [in the second half] a month ago," head coach Kelvin Sampson said after the win. "We were trying to figure out how to win the game, and they bought into in the second half."
Jarreau, the junior guard from New Orleans, ended the night with three blocks, to go along with 12 points and five rebounds in the win. Although Jarreau made a few key stops down the stretch, Houston's most impactful defender came from big man Chris Harris Jr. Despite ending the game scoreless, Sampson called Harris the best player on the court, as the senior center recorded a career-high six rejections (all in the second half) and 12 rebounds on the night.
"I feel like I did what my team needed me to do, which was block shots and rebound," Harris said. "I honestly don't think about scoring when I go into the game because my main focus is to rebound and blocks shots every night."
The Cougars outscored the Bobcats 40-31 thanks to a second-half surge by sophomore guard, Quentin Grimes. He scored 16 of his 21 points in the second period, where he shot 6-for-17 from the floor in 37 minutes of play. Forward Fabian White had another productive night, as the forward recorded 15 points (5-11 FG) and six rebounds for the Cougars.
With their fourth game win streak coming to an end in Houston, Nijal Pearson led the Bobcats in scoring with 17 points on 5-for-16 shooting before fouling out in the final minute of the game.
Following the win, the Houston Cougars will hit the road to Columbia S.C. for a Sunday showdown against the South Carolina Gamecocks. Tip-off is slated for 11 A.M. C.T.