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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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF CRENNEL'S COACHING

Now my job: Texans loss rests squarely on this decision

Another tough loss for the Texans. Photo by Getty Images.

There are times in which you gamble and it pays off. Then there are times in which you gamble and lose badly. Today was definitely the latter. The Texans fell to the Titans 42-36 in an overtime thriller. The loss rests squarely on the head of interim head coach Romeo Crennel and his ill-timed gambling at the end of the game.

It started with the gamble to go for it on 4th&1 on the Titans' 35-yard line with 4:37 left in the game. That move said two things: A) we're on the road at 1-4 against the 4-0 division leader up by one point so let's try to end this, or B) I don't trust our kicker to make a 53-yard field goal. They converted because David Johnson is good for slamming into the backs of the offensive line for at least a yard or three. The next gamble came eight plays later. It was 4th & Goal from the 1-yard line. The play call was a pass. Deshaun Watson found Randall Cobb after scrambling to extend the play and putting the ball in a tight window on the sideline where only Cobb could catch it. Here's where I started to have a problem with the gambling.

That touchdown made it 36-29 in favor of the Texans. Up by seven with less than two minutes left in the game, the "right" call would be to kick the extra point to potentially go up by eight. That forces the opposition to have to score a touchdown and convert a two point conversion in order to tie the game. Alas...Crennel gambled by trying to force things, went for two, and came up short. Kenny Rogers once said: You've got to know when to hold 'em. Know when to fold 'em. Know when to walk away. Know when to run.

The porous defense, however, gave up the game tying touchdown and extra point with four seconds left to send the game into overtime. From there, the Titans got the ball in overtime and drove down the field for the game winning score. A team that played a game on Tuesday evening bullied a team on Sunday at noon. Let that sink in. Sure, Derrick Henry is a linebacker playing running back, but the amount of yards you gave up to him was unacceptable.

Not kicking that extra point to go up by eight with less than two minutes left (1:50 to be exact) was the key coaching move that I feel cost them the game. There's no coming back from blunders like that when you're now 1-5 and would need to go at least 8-2 with tons of help down the stretch to have an outside shot at the newly created seventh spot in the playoffs. You had the division leader down and were in position to get a division win to go to 2-4. Instead, you're now in position to help the Dolphins continue to improve their franchise from the boneheaded decisions Bill O'Brien made before his exit. Crennel and staff coached a good game, until the end when it mattered most. With an extra playoff spot available, they still have an outside shot to make it, but it'll be difficult.

This city and fanbase deserve better. One day, they'll get it and get a winner. Until then unfortunately, they'll have to settle for purgatory, disappointment, and mediocrity. Hold tight. I see good things coming one day Houston football fans.

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