NCAA Basketball Recap

Houston stumbles, Tech dominates as season winds down

Kelvin Sampson and UH took a tough loss. Jackson Gatlin/SportsMap

TEXAS LONGHORNS (16-14) 8-9 Big XII

Last week (1-1):
L- @ Baylor 84-83, W- Iowa State 86-69, L- @ Texas Tech 70-51

This week: Saturday vs. TCU

Texas lost a heartbreaker to Baylor to start the week. The Horns led by as many as 19 points in the second half, and Baylor stormed all the way back and sent the game to OT, where Texas finally fell 84-83. Texas had a run in the second half where they scored only 4 points in nearly 8 minutes. Texas shot the ball well from outside (56%), but were out rebounded 42-29. Jase Febres led Texas in the loss, scoring 23 points (including 7 3-pointers) in 43 minutes. Texas then came up big against Iowa State, taking an 86-69 win in Austin. Febres had 26 points, and 8-more 3-pointers, in the win. Freshman Courtney Ramey added 18 points. The Horns were 15-25 from behind the arc. Things went back downhill for the Horns at Texas Tech, losing a 70-51 tilt. Texas, who had been hot from outside, was held to just 4 of 18 from 3. Matt Coleman III led the Longhorns with 16 points. Febres unraveled, shooting just 1-10 from the field and 0-5 from deep.Texas closes out their season at home on Saturday against TCU.

TEXAS A&M AGGIES (13-15) 6-10 SEC

Last week (1-1):
L- @ LSU 66-55, W- Vanderbilt 64-57

This week: Tuesday South Carolina, Saturday @ Mississippi State

Texas A&M was a mixed bag this week, going 1-1. It started out on a rough foot, getting crushed at LSU, 66-55. The final score was closer than the game, as the Aggies were down by as many as 21 in the first half and never got back closer than 9. Wendell Mitchell led the Aggies with 14 points in defeat. TJ Starks went to the hospital with a shoulder injury he suffered in a collision under the basket. The Ags shot just 4-22 from 3. They did get a win on the board against Vanderbilt, 64-57 in College Station. Sauvion Flagg paced the Aggies with 22 points and 12 rebounds. The Aggies out rebounded the Commodores by 10 in the victory. Texas A&M finishes up the regular season this week with South Carolina and Mississippi State.

HOUSTON COUGARS (27-2) 14-2 American

Last week (1-1): W- @ East Carolina 99-65, L- UCF 69-64

This week: Thursday vs. SMU, Sunday @ Cincinnati

Houston started out the week as expected, blowing the doors off a bad East Carolina team, 99-65. Corey Davis led the four Cougars in double digits with his 26 points. Davis was 6-11 from 3-point range. ECU was 5-13 as a team. The Cougars then came home, and had their 33-game home win streak snapped by Central Florida, 69-64. Houston struggled from the free throw line particularly, making just 12 of 24 freebies. Davis again led the Coogs with 19 points in the loss. The loss likely ends any hope of a 2-seed for Houston, who finishes up the regular season with SMU and a trip to Cincinnati this week.

RICE OWLS (12-17) 6-9 CUSA

Last week (1-0): W- Middle Tennessee State 67-61

This week: Wednesday @ Charlotte, Saturday vs. Charlotte

Rice clinched a spot in the Conference USA tournament with a 67-61 win over Middle Tennessee. The Owls led by 13 at the half and coasted to their second win over the Blue Raiders this season. Freshman Drew Peterson led the Owls with 16 points. Rice held MTSU to just 1-15 from behind the 3-point line. The Owls get a home and home to close out the regular season with one of the conference's worst teams, Charlotte.

BAYLOR BEARS (19-10) 9-5 Big XII

Last week (1-1): W- Texas 84-83, L- @ Kansas State 66-60

This week: Wednesday vs. Oklahoma State, Saturday @ Kansas

Baylor got a wild win over Texas, 84-83. Mario Kegler scored 24 points, including the go-ahead free throws in the final seconds of overtime. Baylor was down 19 in the 2nd half, and came all the way back to send it to extra time. Baylor hit 20 of 24 from the line. Devonte Bandoo also had 18 points in the win. The win guaranteed Baylor a top-six tournament seed, which gets them a first round bye in the tournament. Baylor had another slow start against Kansas State, but were unable to overcome it this time, falling 66-60. Baylor was behind 24-9 in the first 10 minutes of the game, and clawed back to take a lead early in the 2nd half. K State got it back to 12 and held off another comeback attempt to get the win. Kegler scored 13 in the loss and Makai Mason added 11. Turnovers killed the Bears, as they gave it away 19 times. Baylor has a home game against Oklahoma State before closing out the regular season at Kansas.


TCU HORNED FROGS (18-12) 6-11 Big XII

Last week (0-3):
L- @ WVU 104-96, L- Texas Tech 81-66, L- Kansas State 64-52

This week: Saturday @ Texas

TCU continues to fade down the stretch, going 0-3 this week. They lost 104-96 at West Virginia in 3 overtimes. The game was tight throughout, and Desmond Bane turned it over with 4 seconds left in a tie game tied at 68. JD Miller let the Frogs with 24 in the game, and Kouat Not had a double double, with 17 points and 10 rebounds. TCU then fell to Texas Tech, 81-66, giving the Frogs 5 losses in their last 6 games. Miller led the Frogs again in the loss, posting 18 points and 8 rebounds. Things only got worse against Kansas State, with the Frogs losing 64-52. Kevin Samuel led the Frogs with 17 points on 8 of 11 shooting. The rest of the Frogs shot just 12 of 37 from the field. TCU will close out the regular season on Saturday at Texas.

TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS (25-5) 13-4 Big XII

Last week (3-0): W- Oklahoma State 84-80, W- @ TCU 81-66,

This week: Saturday @ Iowa State

The battle for the regular season Big XII title rages on, with Texas Tech at the forefront. Tech may have sleepwalked into the game against Oklahoma State. The Raiders struggled, particularly on defense, but still got the win, 84-80 in overtime. The three-point shot wasn't dropping for Tech, either, hitting just 3 of 19. Davide Moretti scored 20 on a night where Jarrett Culver was inefficient, getting his 19 points on 7/22 shooting. Things were back to normal for Tech against TCU, where the Red Raiders took an 81-66 victory in Fort Worth. Culver and Moretti shared the lead with 15 points in the win. Tech had 8 steals in the game. The Red Raiders then got a 70-51 win over Texas. The Red Raiders shot 9 of 18 from 3-point range. Tech held the Horns to under 30% from the field. Jarrett Culver scored 16 points and pulled down 7 boards in the win. Tech closes out the season at Iowa State on Saturday.

SMU MUSTANGS (13-15) 5-11 American

Last week (0-2):
L- Cincinnati 52-49, L- Wichita 67-55

This week: Thursday @ Houston, Sunday @ South Florida

SMU's season is mercifully entering into the final week of the regular season, coming off another 2-loss week. They dropped a tough one, 52-49 against Cincinnati. SMU held the Bearcats to just 27% from the field, but SMU only got to the line three times (hit 2). Jahmal McMurray scored 27 of the 49 total Mustang points. No one else made more than three shots for the Ponies. SMU followed it up with a 67-56 loss to Wichita State. SMU never had a lead in this game. The Mustangs shot just 11% from 3-point range. Freshman Feron Hunt led the Mustangs with 14 points in the loss. SMU has Houston and South Florida on the road this week to wrap up the regular season.

LSU TIGERS (24-5) 14-2 SEC

Last week (2-0):
W- Texas A&M 66-56, W- @ Alabama 74-69

This week: Wednesday @ Florida, Saturday vs. Vanderbilt

LSU is back in business, winning two games this week, and remaining in a tie for 1st in the SEC (LSU holds the head to head win over Tennessee). They started with a 66-55 win over Texas A&M. Nad Reid, who did basically nothing against Tennessee last week, dominated the Aggies, scoring 18 and grabbing 11 rebounds. Javonte Smart added 17 points in the win. The offense is still not firing on all cylinders, hitting just 2 of 19 from 3-point range. LSU then took a 74-69 road win over Alabama. Tremont Waters returned after missing 2 straight games, but only posted 5 points. Skylar Mays scored 20, and Smart added 19 in the win. The Tigers grabbed 48 rebounds in the game. LSU finishes the season with a revenge game against Florida and a home game against Vanderbilt, who is winless in SEC play.

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Altuve's homer starting the scoring for Houston on Friday night. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
After a solid showing to take the three of the four-game series in Arlington against the Rangers to start the week, the Astros returned home for three against the Diamondbacks in a weekend series. They would have a slow start to the opener but would ultimately come away victorious.

Final Score (10 innings): Astros 4, Diamondbacks 3

Astros' Record: 87-60, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Ryne Stanek (3-4)

Losing Pitcher: Tyler Clippard (1-1)

Bielak makes the impromptu start

With Luis Garcia having to move his start ahead by a day on Thursday instead of Friday with Framber Valdez's finger cut, Brandon Bielak made a start for Houston in the opener against Arizona. He didn't go as deep as he probably would have wanted and certainly ventured out of his comfort zone with traffic on the bases.

He loaded the bases in the top of the first, allowing a single and two walks, but was able to strand all three to keep it a scoreless game. He rebounded with a 1-2-3 second, but he dealt with a threat again in the third as back-to-back singles pressured him to start the inning. He would get back-to-back strikeouts, but that's as far as he would go as Houston moved on to Blake Taylor. Taylor got the final out of the third on one pitch, then erased a two-out double in the top of the fourth.

Altuve breaks up the no-no with a go-ahead homer

Brooks Raley took over in the top of the fifth, but in his three batters, he faced allowed a single while getting two outs before Cristian Javier took over to end the frame. Javier allowed the first run of the game in the top of the sixth, a leadoff solo homer to Kole Calhoun to put the Diamondbacks in front 1-0 before he finished the inning.

Madison Bumgarner didn't allow a single hit to the Astros through the first five and two-thirds innings. He allowed a one-out walk in the bottom of the sixth, which proved costly as Jose Altuve would get the first knock of the game for Houston, a two-run go-ahead homer. Phil Maton was the next reliever for the Astros in the top of the seventh, maintaining the new one-run lead by erasing a leadoff single.

Astros get the win in extras

The Diamondbacks tied it up in the top of the eighth against Kendall Graveman, getting a leadoff single followed by a walk, then later an RBI single to knot things up 2-2. Houston stranded a runner in the bottom of the eighth, then brought in Ryan Pressly, who tossed a 1-2-3 top of the ninth to keep the game tied.

Despite getting the winning run in scoring position with a leadoff ground-rule double by Jason Castro to start the bottom of the ninth, they would strand it as the game went to extras. Arizona scored their free runner in the top of the tenth, getting a sac fly to move it to third then going in front on an RBI single.

The Astros matched that and more in the bottom of the inning, moving their runner to third on a lineout to start the frame, followed by an intentional walk to Yordan Alvarez. Jake Meyers tied the game with an RBI single, then after another walk to load the bases, Chas McCormick was hit by a pitch to bring in the winning run, moving the Astros closer to clinching their playoff berth.

Up Next: The middle game of this three-game set will have a start time of 6:10 PM Central on Saturday. Tyler Gilbert (2-2, 3.15 ERA) is expected to make a start for Arizona, while Lance McCullers Jr. (12-4, 3.12 ERA) will be on the mound for Houston.

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