The college basketball report

The week in college basketball: UH and Tech continue hot starts

Kelvin Sampson and the Coogs had a big week. UHCougars.com

TEXAS LONGHORNS (7-3)

Last week (1-0):
W- Grand Canyon 98-60

This week: Friday vs. Providence

Texas finally found their range from 3 against Grand Canyon. The Horns shot 53% from distance in a dominant performance against the Antelopes. Jase Febres and Eli Metro-Long were at the forefront of the explosion, tying for the team lead with 16 points a piece. Kerwin Roach had 15 off the bench, since he was not starting due to a team rules violation. Texas was +15 in rebounding and +11 in assists. The Longhorns have one game this week, Friday against a strong Providence team.

TEXAS A&M AGGIES (4-4)

Last week (1-0): W- Oregon State 67-64

This week: Wednesday vs. Valparaiso, Saturday vs. Marshall

The Aggies were able to overcome any rust that they had picked up from their near two-week layoff and hold on for a 67-64 win against Oregon State. TJ Starks led the way with 18 points and 8 assists for the Aggies. Defense was key for Texas A&M, as they forced 19 turnovers and held the Beavers to 34% from the field. Texas A&M was able to hit 41% from long range in the win. The Aggies are home for Valparaiso and Marshall this week.

HOUSTON COUGARS (10-0)

Last week (2-0): W- LSU 82-76, W- Saint Louis 68-64

This week: Thursday vs. Utah State, Sunday vs. Coppin State

Houston was pushed by the best competition they have seen so far this season, and were able to persevere and walk away with a 2-0 week. They first took an 82-76 win over LSU, overcoming a 15 point deficit in the second half. Galen Robinson, Jr. sparked the comeback, and led the Cougars with 18 points and 6 assists in the win. On a night where the 3-point shot wasn't dropping for Houston (4-20), they were able to pull down 18 offensive rebounds to make up the deficit. They were able to keep the momentum rolling against Saint Louis, coming back in the final minutes to take a 68-64 win over the Billikens. Corey Davis had 17 points to lead the Cougars, including the tiebreaking 3-pointer with :29 seconds on the clock. Robinson and Armoni Brooks added 13 a piece in the victory. The two wins pushed UH to No. 21 in the pools. They get Utah State and Coppin State this week.

RICE OWLS (4-7)

Last week (1-1): W- Saint Edwards 78-73, L- UC-Santa Barbara 99-89

This week: Tuesday vs. UT-Rio Grande Valley, Friday vs. Omaha

Rice was able to get a win in a back and forth game with Division II St. Edwards, 78-73. Chris Mullins had 24 points in the win. Rice was playing behind for a 10 minute-plus stretch in the second half, but Mullins turned it on late to get the lead and eventually the win. Jack Williams added 17 in the win. Fouls were the story in the game. Rice hit 21-of-26 from the free throw line, while St. Ed's only had 8 attempts, hitting 5. Things didn't go as well for Rice against UC-Santa Barbara, as the Owls fell 99-89 to the Gauchos. Robert Martin scored 24 to lead the Owls in the loss, and Mullins added 21. Santa Barbara shot 48% from long range and hit 23 of their 24 free throw attempts. The Owls were -12 in the rebounding department. Rice goes to UT-Rio Grande Valley and hosts Omaha this week.

BAYLOR BEARS (6-3)

Last week (1-0): W- @ Arizona 58-49

This week: Tuesday vs. Stephen F. Austin, Friday vs. Oregon

Baylor had one of the best wins of the season, breaking a 52-game home non conference win streak for Arizona, 58-49. Makai Mason led the Bears with 22 points in the win. Baylor was a remarkable +31 in rebounding for the game. Mark Vital had 16 of Baylor's 50 rebounds on the night. Baylor hosts Stephen F. Austin and Oregon this week as they prepare for their Big XII opener on January 5th.

TCU HORNED FROGS (8-1)

Last week (1-0): W- Indiana State 90-70

This week: Saturday vs. Charleston

The Horned Frogs had just one game this week, but were impressive in a 90-70 win against Indiana State. Desmond Bane led the way for the Frogs with 17 points. The difference-makers in the game were the 3-pointer, which TCU won 40% 19%, and the turnover battle, which favored the Frogs 20-10. TCU had 4 players reach double-digits in scoring. TCU has just one game this week, a Saturday home game against Charleston.

TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS (10-0)

Last week (2-0): W- Northwestern State 79-44, W- Abilene Christian 82-48

This week: Thursday vs. Duke

Texas Tech had another 2-0 week, starting with a dominant 79-44 win over Northwestern State. Defense again paved the way for Tech, who led 53-10 at halftime. Northwestern State shot below 25% for the game and turned the ball over 19 times. Jarrett Culver led the way offensively for Tech with 15 points. Tariq Owens was right behind him with 14. Tech then blew out Abilene Christian, 82-48. Culver scored a career-high 30 points and added 7 boards and 4 assists in the win. He hit 12 of his 13 shot attempts, and the Red Raiders shot 56% for the night last a team. The victory moved Tech to 10-0 on the season, and they have won every game by double digits. Their toughest test comes Thursday night, as they will take on Duke in Madison Square Garden.

SMU MUSTANGS (7-4)

Last week (1-0): W- @ Georgetown 81-73

This week: Sunday vs. Cornell

SMU picked up a solid road win this week, taking a win over Georgetown, 81-73. It was a balanced attack offensively for SMU, with four players in double digits. Jahmal McMurray led the way with 19, including four 3-pointers in the win. 3-point shooting hurt Georgetown, who could only manage 22% from distance. The loss was the first at home for the Hoyas this season. SMU has a home game against Cornell on Sunday.

LSU TIGERS (8-3)

Last week (1-1): L- @ Houston 82-76, W- Saint Mary's 78-74

This week: Friday vs. Furman

LSU almost broke out this week, but Houston decided that it was just their night. LSU dominated for most of the game, but fell 82-76 to the Cougars. Their dynamic pair of freshmen, Naz Reid and Ja'Vonte Smart combined for 31 points in the loss. Tremont Waters again struggled with his shot, getting 10 points on 3-13 shooting. The Tigers as a team shot just 19% from 3-point range. Things went better for LSU against Saint Mary's. Waters came back strong, scoring 18 points on 7-12 shooting. Reid added 14 in the win. LSU was +8 in turnovers, which was a huge factor in the victory. LSU gets a matchup against a ranked Furman team on Friday.

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The Texans didn't have an answer for Derrick Henry. Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Romeo Crennel made a valorous call that might have costed the Houston Texans from winning their second consecutive game on Sunday. Up by seven with 1:50 left in the fourth quarter, Crennel decided to call a two-point conversion following Deshaun Watson's one-yard touchdown pass to Brandin Cooks.

During the two-point conversion, Watson had a look at an open Randall Cobb, but Titans' defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons got a hand on the ball to deflect the pass. The failed conversion allowed the Titans to take a 42-36 victory over the Texans inside Nissan Stadium. Tennessee scored 13 unanswered points, which included a seven-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Tannehill to A.J. Brown to send the game into overtime.

"I think I would do it again," Crennel said during his media availability on Monday. "You are on the road against a divisional opponent who is undefeated, and if you could get that two-point conversion — you shut the door on them. We had a guy open, but unfortunately, the ball got tipped and we did not make it. I would do it again because it was a good choice."

The decision to not kick the field goal caused somewhat of an uproar, but it is understandable why Crennel made the call. Crennel had faith in Watson to put the Texans in a position to close the game, similar to his 4th-and-4 call during last week's victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

In the end, Crennel's risky decisions could stem from the lack of faith he has in the Texans' depleted defense.

Houston's defense hit an all-time low against the Titans. They gave up a franchise-worst 601 total yards — with Derrick Henry accounting for 212 yards on 22 carries. But despite their struggles against the run, the Texans' secondary were just as faulty. They gave up a total of 338 yards through the air and allowed Tannehill to go 8-for-9 down the field during the Titans' final drive of regulation.

Had Houston's defense made a stop during the closing seconds of the fourth quarter, the Texans could have ended the game 2-0 under their interim head coach.

"I wanted to go ahead and get the two points — I felt like that would have put the game out of reach for them," Crennel said. "If we had gotten it, we would have been in much better shape. But we did not get it. We did not perform well in overtime, and they [Titans] won the game."

Following Sunday's heartbreaking loss, Texans safety Justin Reid said it best, "Had we converted on the two-point conversion, this would be a totally different conversation. So it is what it is."

Up next, the 1-5 Texans will look to bounce back from defeat against the 4-1 Green Bay Packers, inside NRG Stadium on Sunday. Kick-off is at 12:00 PM CT.

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