Sophomore guard Quentin Grimes scored a career-high 32 points as the Houston Cougars complete comeback victory over the Rice Owls

Second-half surge leads Houston past Rice in dramatic finish

Kelvin Sampson. Getty Images

The Houston Cougars trailed 77-71 late in the second half to the Rice Owls when junior forward Fabian White knocked down two free throws to cut into the deficit. Following a made 3-point field goal by Quentin Grimes, the Cougars ignited for a 21-1 run late in the second half, which led to a 97-89 victory over the Owls Tuesday night inside Tudor Fieldhouse in Houston.

Shortly after the win, Grimes said this game was an example of how great this team can be, calling the Cougars one of the best in the nation. While Houston will be among some of the top teams in college basketball, this game also proves how great Grimes will be on an individual standpoint.

The sophomore guard from the Woodlands put on a show in the Cougars comeback victory, as he recorded a career-high 32 points (11-17 FG, 4-6 3PT), nine rebounds and five assists in the win. While coming up huge in the clutch, Grimes scored 21 of his total points during the Cougars second-half surge.

Despite picking up their second win on the new season, the game for the Cougars did not start on the right note. Following a 3-point basket by Rice guard Trey Murphy, the Owls jumped out to a 5-0 run and held the lead for the entire first half. Rice increased its lead to a 15-point advantage as Houston failed to buy a bucket in the first 15 minutes. Following a timeout by a frustrated Kelvin Sampson, the Cougars ended the half on a 13-5 run but still trailed 39-32 at the halftime break.

As Houston started to connect on the offensive end, the Cougars picked up their intensity on the defensive end after a switch to zone defense in an attempt to slow down the Owls.

In addition to Grimes, several players stepped up big for the Cougars, with freshman guard Marcus Sasser scoring 15 points on 55.6% shooting from the field, 62.5% from deep, in his first career start. Nate Hinton and DeJon Jarreau both added in 15 points of their own, with Caleb Mills pouring in 12 points off the bench.

With the win, the Cougars snapped the Owls four-game win streak and gave them their second loss of the regular season. In a losing effort, Owls were led by senior forward Robert Martin, who recorded 23 points while shooting 50% from the floor. Drew Peterson and Ako Adams both added 16 points apiece for Rice.

Following a comeback win, the Houston Cougars will hit the road for an early-season test against the No. 11 Oregon Ducks on Friday, inside the Matthew Knight Arena in Oregon. Tip-off is slated for 8 P.M. CT.

QUICK TIP-INS:

  • The Houston Cougars made only three triples in the first half before connecting on 10 made 3-point baskets in the second. (13-26 3PT)
  • The Cougars won the battle of the glass, out-rebounding the Owls 47-34, 16-8 in offensive rebounds in the win.
  • After they once trailed by 15-points, Houston once held a lead as big as 11 in the second half.

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Houston couldn't keep up

Astros fall to Blue Jays as Toronto gets homer-happy

Houston's bats couldn't keep up with Toronto's Saturday night. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

With an offensive clinic in the opener on Friday night, which helped them handily defeat the Blue Jays, the Astros returned to Minute Maid Park Saturday with a chance to secure another series. Toronto had other plans, though, reversing roles with Houston by getting big home runs to even the series.

Final Score: Blue Jays 8, Astros 4

Astros' Record: 17-16, third in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Steven Matz (5-2)

Losing Pitcher: Cristian Javier (3-1)

Toronto flips the script and turns on their offense against Javier

Toronto flipped the script from the night before early in this middle game of the series, dealing damage to Cristian Javier, who so far in 2021 had been able to limit his amount of earned runs. After retiring the first four batters he faced, a one-out walk in the top of the second set up the Blue Jays' first hit of the night, a two-run home run by Cavan Biggio, giving them a 2-0 lead over Houston.

After a leadoff home run made it a 3-0 score, Javier would deal with the fallout of more walks in the top of the third, issuing two to set up a two-out two-RBI double to give the Jays a commanding 5-0 advantage. Javier would battle back and complete five full innings, getting one out into the sixth before a walk would prompt Dusty Baker to make the call to the bullpen. His final line: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 8 K, 2 HR, 91 P.

Alvarez keeps mashing as Houston tries to claw back into it

Javier would exit with at least some runs on the board in support of him, with Yordan Alvarez hitting a two-run opposite-field homer in the bottom of the fourth to cut the lead to three runs. Alvarez accounted for another run in the next inning, coming through with an RBI-single to make it 5-3, which is where the game stood as Andre Scrubb would take over in the top of the sixth.

Scrubb finished that inning for Javier and returned for a 1-2-3 seventh to keep it a two-run game. Bryan Abreu was the next reliever, and he, too, was able to retire the Blue Jays in order in the top of the eighth. The Astros continued to chip away at Toronto's lead, getting another run in the bottom of the inning on an RBI by Yuli Gurriel to make it 5-4 heading to the ninth.

Toronto evens the series

Brooks Raley entered to try and keep it a one-run game with a clean inning, but instead, two runners would reach on a walk and error before Joe Smith would enter to try and strand them. Instead, a two-out home run put the game back out of reach at 8-4, with Houston coming up empty in the bottom of the inning, setting up a rubber match in the finale.

Up Next: This series's third and final game will be an afternoon start of 1:10 PM Central on Sunday. Zack Greinke (2-1, 3.76 ERA) will try to add more wins to his record for Houston, while Nate Pearson will be making his 2021 debut for Toronto.

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