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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The Astros will look to bounce back after a tough week. Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images.

After a 6-3 record to start the season, the Houston Astros had a tumultuous week to say the least. They were swept by the Tigers, lost 2 of 3 games to the Seattle Mariners and placed five players on the COVID injured list.

The Tigers' new manager AJ Hinch returned to Minute Maid Park for the first time since the Astros let him go after the cheating scandal in early 2020.

The Tigers swept the Astros and outscored them 20-8 over their three matchups.

Before the 3rd game of the series, the Astros found out they would be without five players on their active roster. Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, Martin Maldonado and Robel Garcia were all placed on the COVID-19 injury reserved list.

"It's hard on the team but you have to carry on. The show must go on," manager Dusty Baker said. "And it went on today with some younger players we have here."

Garrett Stubbs, Taylor Jones and Abraham Toro were called up as well as Alex De Goti and Ronnie Dawson who made their major league debuts last week.

The Tigers were able to score runs early on Zack Greinke, Lance McCullers and Jake Odorizzi (who made his Astros debut) and none of these starters lasted more than five innings in the outings.

Yuli Gurriel was the one Astros bright spot against the Tigers as he had 7 hits and drove in 2 runs. He is still continuing to hit the ball consistently as he finished the series with a .429 batting average.

After a 1-5 home stand the Astros looked to bounce back on the road against the division leading Seattle Mariners (you read that correctly).

Friday night proved to be the Astros' best offensive performance since their home opener on April 8th against the A's.

They scored five runs on Yusei Kikuchi through 7 innings behind good hitting from Aledmys Diaz, Chas McCormick and De Goti who drove in two runs on his first major league hit.

The Astros had a 5-2 lead at this point, but Seattle was able to score 4 unanswered to win the game.

Bryan Abreu, Blake Taylor and Ryne Stanek were credited with those four runs.

Ryan Pressly tried to clean up the bottom of the 9th inning after Stanek put the first two batters on base. His effort was unsuccessfully as Ty France hit a game-ending single that scored J.P. Crawford from second to secure a Mariners victory.

Saturday was the best game of the week for the Astros as they finally broke their six-game losing streak.

After failing to pitch more than five innings on Monday against the Tigers, Zack Greinke threw eight shutout innings with 91 pitches.

He struck out six batters and gave up only 4 hits.

"That's what aces do," Astros manager Dusty Baker said. "Guys like (Greinke) ... they stop the bleeding and we're about bled out."

Greinke finished the game with 2,705 career strikeouts. He is now third amongst active players in strikeouts behind Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander.

Ryan Pressly got some redemption too as he threw a perfect 9th inning giving him his first save of the year.

The Astros won this game 1-0 as Taylor Jones drove in the game's only run with an RBI single.

Sunday's game ended the Astros week with a whimper, as the Mariners bested Houston 7-2.

Jake Odorizzi got off to a good start, but he gave up three hits and was pulled after Mitch Haniger's fifth-inning triple made it a 3-2 lead over the Astros.

Odorizzi is now (0-2) with a 10.57 ERA after two starts with the Astros.

Houston's offensive woes continued Sunday, as Aledmys Díaz had their only hit, an RBI double in the second inning that fell in when outfielder José Marmolejos lost the ball in the sun.

"It's tough to take when you only got one hit and the one hit we got was lost in the sun," Baker said.

UP NEXT: The Astros (7-8) will finish their road trip with a two game series against the Rockies who have the worst record in the league (4-12) before starting an eight-game homestead.

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