COUGARS REPORT

Houston remains undefeated at home after rolling past Wichita State and Tulane

The Cougars continue to dominate at home. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Houston looked to get back on track and continue their winning ways when they hosted the Wichita State Shockers on Wednesday, January 6th.

Just like their previous game against SMU, The Cougars couldn't get any kind of offensive rhythm going in the first half. The Shockers took advantage of Houston's woes and went into the locker room up 31-25 at halftime.

They kept this momentum going into the second half as Wichita State increased their lead to 10 points with 18:44 left to go in the contest.

Houston wasn't going to give up without a fight, for they responded with a 16-0 run to take a six-point lead with 13 minutes left.

Junior Guard Quentin Grimes led the way for this comeback as he scored seven of his team high 22 points during this run.

Grimes scored 20 of his 22 points in the second half, and this was his best performance since his previous 22 point outing against Temple back on December 22nd.

Wichita State kept wouldn't go away quietly as they were able to cut the deficit down to four points with 8:44 remaining. This would be as close as the Shockers would get, for Houston pulled away with a 12-2 run to open up a 14-point lead on consecutive 3-pointers by Grimes with 5:44 left.

The Cougars secured a 70-63 victory and this was the 9th time in 10 contests in which Houston held their opponents scoring to under 65 points.

Their next game against Tulane wasn't nearly as competitive.

Houston defeated the Green Wave 71-50 to improve their record to 10-1 and 5-1 in conference play.

Sophomore Guard Marcus Sasser had himself a game as he scored a career high 28 points and made eight 3-pointers.

"They were leaving me open a little bit, and coach (Kelvin Sampson) gives me confidence to shoot the ball," Sasser said. "Every time I shot it, it was going in. I feel like that was the hottest I've been."

Sasser, Grimes and DeJon Jarreau continue to prove they are the best trio of guards in college basketball day in and day out.

This has been said many times, but Houston continues to win on defense, rebounding and superior guard play.

UH set a season-high with 15 3-pointers and Houston has now won 17 straight games at the Fertitta Center and UH has now won five consecutive games at home against Tulane.

Mills Update:

UH announced Tuesday that AAC Preseason Player of the Year Caleb Mills is transferring.

Mills led Houston in scoring as a freshman last season, helping lead the team to a 23-8 record and share of the AAC title.

But the 6-foot-3 guard had dealt with an ankle injury this season and was averaging just 19 minutes off the bench in four games for the No. 11 Cougars.

"I am grateful to Coach Sampson, my coaches and teammates for the opportunities in Houston," Mills said in the university's announcement. "This decision allows me to play closer to home and is best for me and my family."

Mills was will presumably transfer to a school in which he can start for next season.

Up Next:

Houston has a couple of days off before they head to Tampa to take on the USF Bulls.

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Houston loses in San Francisco

Astros drop back-and-forth middle game to Giants to even series

Houston's offense couldn't keep up with the Giants on Saturday. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images.

With the impressive win in the opener to start the series, the Astros entered Saturday's middle game against the Giants with an opportunity to not just secure the series but surpass San Francisco for the best record in the league. They'd have to wait to take that crown, as the Giants would out-slug the Astros to even the series.

Final Score: Giants 8, Astros 6

Astros' Record: 64-41, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jay Jackson (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Blake Taylor (2-3)

Teams trade blows early, Giants chase Greinke out early

The teams traded blows early in this one, with the Giants tagging Zack Greinke with six runs, all on homers. The first was a solo shot in the bottom of the second to start the scoring before hitting one in each inning through the fourth: two-run blasts in the third and fourth, then a go-ahead solo shot in the bottom of the fifth, putting them ahead 6-5 at the time. Greinke would face one more batter, allowing a single to end his lackluster day: 4.0 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 4 HR, 93 P.

Houston's offense kept things close to try and keep Greinke in a position to win, going up 3-1 in the third on a two-run Aledmys Diaz homer and another coming in on an error. After San Francisco scored four unanswered to make it 5-3, Diaz homered again in the top of the fifth to cut the deficit to one run before Yuli Gurriel would tie it with an RBI double.

Astros stay in it, but Giants even the series by winning the slug-fest

With Greinke exiting with no outs in the fifth, Houston handed the ball to Phil Maton, acquired in the recent Myles Straw trade, to make his debut for his new team. He worked himself into a jam, allowing a single and hitting a batter to load the bases with one out, but was able to get back-to-back strikeouts to strike out the side and strand all three runners, keeping it a one-run game.

That proved pivotal in the top of the sixth, as with two outs, Martin Maldonado would launch a game-tying solo homer, making it 6-6. Blake Taylor took over out of the bullpen in the bottom of the inning but would face just three batters, getting two outs while leaving one on as Dusty Baker moved on to Cristian Javier. Javier would watch the Giants retake the lead, getting back-to-back singles to bring in a run and make it 7-6.

Javier stayed in the game in the bottom of the seventh, allowing a leadoff single but erasing it by striking out the next three batters. Still a 7-6 game in the bottom of the eighth, Yimi Garcia made his Astros debut but did not keep the score there, allowing a leadoff solo homer to make it a two-run game. The 8-6 score would go final as Houston's offense came up empty again in the top of the ninth, setting up a rubber game in the finale.

Up Next: The series finale will get underway at 3:05 PM Central on Sunday in San Francisco. Luis Garcia (7-5, 3.19 ERA) will take the mound for Houston, going opposite Logan Webb (4-3, 3.36 ERA) for the Giants.

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