Weekly NCAA Basketball Roundup

​Texas Tech, LSU and Houston all have deep tournament aspirations

Kelvin Sampson has the Cougars rolling. Bob Levey/Getty Images

TEXAS LONGHORNS (16-11) 7-6 Big XII

Last week (1-1):
L- Kansas State 71-64, W- Oklahoma State 69-57

This week: Saturday @ Oklahoma

Texas dropped a game to Kansas State at home, 71-64. Texas struggled offensively in the second half, letting their four-point halftime lead go early in the half and never recovering. Texas had improved as a 3-point shooting team in recent weeks, but they reverted to their early season ways shooting 21% from deep for the game. Kerwin Roach III was 0-5 from behind the arc, but still managed to lead the Horns with 17 points in the loss. The Longhorns followed that up with a win over Oklahoma State, 69-57. Oklahoma State started strong, but eventually wore down and the Horns were able to run up an 11-point halftime lead that they never relinquished. Roach had 16 to lead Texas, and Dylan Osetkowski added 14 in the victory. Texas won't play until Saturday, when they make the road trip to Norman to take on the Sooners.

TEXAS A&M AGGIES (10-14) 3-9 SEC

Last week (1-1):
W- Georgia 73-56, L- @ South Carolina 84-77

This week: Tuesday vs. Alabama, Saturday @ Arkansas

Texas A&M got a back to back conference wins for the first time all season, following last week's win at Mizzou up with a 73-56 drubbing of Georgia. The game was an up and down affair for the first 10 minutes of the game, but the Aggies used a 22-10 run to end the half to springboard them to the win. A&M was only 6-of-21 from 3 in the game, but the Bulldogs shot a pathetic 3-of-23 from distance. TJ Starks led the Aggies with 19 points and added four steals in the victory. It looked like the Aggies were on their way to 3 in a row, but South Carolina came back from a 7-point deficit at halftime to drop the Ags 84-77. SC hit 52% from distance in the game, and had a +9 edge in rebounding. Sauvion Flagg scored 24 points for Texas A&M in the loss. The Aggies get Alabama and a road trip to Arkansas on the schedule this week.

HOUSTON COUGARS (25-1) 12-1 American

Last week (2-0): W- @ UConn 71-63, W- @ Tulane 85-50

This week: Saturday vs. South Florida

The Cougars held serve this week with two road wins against UConn and Tulane, two of the bottom-feeders in the conference. They got a 71-63 win at UConn to start the week. The game looked like it would be close through the first half, but the Coogs were able to pull away in the second half. Incredible 3-point shooting (which was a theme this week for UH) gave the Cougars a big edge, knocking down 52% from long-range. Dejon Jarreau led the way for Houston, scoring 18 points and adding 7 assists in the win. Things only got easier for the Cougars against Tulane, where they crushed the Green Wave 85-50. The Cougars hit 17 3-pointers in the game, including 8 from Corey Davis, Jr., who led the Coogs with 26 points. Armoni Brooks added 24 in the biggest conference blowout the Coogs have had this season. The 9th-ranked Cougars will try to keep things rolling at home this weekend, as the South Florida Bulls come in.

RICE OWLS (10-17) 5-9 CUSA

Last week (0-2): L- @ FIU 86-65, L- @ FAU 60-41

This week: Saturday @ UTEP

Rice had really started to look competitive after a horrible start to the season. The Owls had either won, or stayed within double digits in eight straight games before last week. They got blown out at Florida International, 86-65 to break that run. Rice had 33 turnovers in the game and only hit 3 3-pointers in the game. Freshman Quintin Millora-Brown was the lone bright spot for the Owls, posting a 14 point, 16 rebound night. Things didn't get much better at Florida Atlantic, where the Owls fell 60-41 over the weekend. They shaved 20 turnovers from the FIU game, but shot just 27% from the field. Chris Mullins led the Owls with 10 points. Miller-Brown shot just 1-8 from the field and had only 2 points. The Owls will look to rebound this weekend when they play their 3rd straight road game, this time at UTEP.

BAYLOR BEARS (16-9) 7-5 Big XII

Last week (1-1): L- @ Texas Tech 86-61

This week: Tuesday @ Iowa State, Saturday vs. West Virginia

Baylor has to get healthy, and it needs to happen fast if they are going to remain in the Big XII title picture. The Bears weren't competitive at Texas Tech, getting blown out 86-61. The Bears shot just 34% from the field, and were -10 in turnover margin. Not only did King McClure miss another game, but Makai Mason sat out as well. Mario Kegler and Jared Butler each had 16 points in the loss for Baylor. The Bears have another tough road trip coming up at Iowa State before a Saturday home date with West Virginia.

TCU HORNED FROGS (17-9) 5-8 Big XII

Last week (0-2):
L- Oklahoma 71-62, L- @ Oklahoma State

This week: Saturday vs. Iowa State

Oh man. That couldn't have gone much worse. TCU lost two games, against two of the worst teams in the Big XII. First, they dropped a 71-62 decision to Oklahoma. The Horned Frogs shot just 35% from the field. JD Miller and Kendric Davis both had 14 points in the loss. Things only got worse against Oklahoma State, as the Cowboys were able to snap their 8-game conference losing streak at the expense of TCU. Desmond Bane and Alex Robinson both had 19 points for the Frogs. They made a late push, but some clutch late shots by OSU sealed TCU's fate. After this week they find themselves in a very vulnerable situation on the bubble. TCU just has one game this week, a home game against surging Iowa State.

TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS (21-5) 9-4 Big XII

Last week (2-0): W- @ Oklahoma State 78-50, W- Baylor 86-81

This week: Saturday vs. Kansas

After a shaky run in the Big XII, Texas Tech has clearly righted the ship. They had another 2-0 week and haven't had a sweat in their last four games. They started with a 78-50 road win against Oklahoma State. The Cowboys led 5-3, and never saw the lead again. As is normally the case, turnover margin and field goal percentage killed another Tech opponent, but the Raiders were strong offensively as well. The Raiders shot 52 % from the field and 48% from 3-point range. Jarrett Culver led the Red Raiders with 19 points. Things weren't much tougher against Baylor, with Tech taking an 86-61 win over the Bears. Tech again knocked down 12 3's and got as strong an effort out of their offense as their defense. Culver led them again with 18 points. Tech has worked their way up to 14th in the polls, and only sit a half game out of 1st place in the Big XII.

SMU MUSTANGS (12-12) 4-8 American

Last week (0-2):
L- @ Temple 82-74

This week: Thursday vs. UConn, Sunday @ UCF

SMU lost their fifth straight and have now lost 7 of their last 8. The once promising season has turned into a disaster. It continued this week with an 82-74 loss at Temple. The two teams shot close to even from a percentage standpoint, but Temple got to the line more and had 6 less turnovers than SMU. Jahmal McMurray was the leader for the Ponies, posting a 22 point, 4 rebound effort in the loss. Ethan Chargois added 17 and 8. SMU has a winnable home game against UConn before heading back on the road to take on UCF, who currently sits at 3rd in the conference.

LSU TIGERS (21-4) 11-1 SEC

Last week (2-0):
W- @ Kentucky 73-71, W- @ Georgia 83-79

This week: Wednesday vs. Florida, Saturday vs. Tennessee

LSU had their season defining win this week, defeating the Kentucky Wildcats 73-71 at Rupp Arena. LSU got a controversial put-back at the buzzer to silence the Kentucky crowd. Tremont Waters scored 15 points for the Tigers, albeit he and Skylar Mays both shot just 3-of-13 from the field. LSU got 23 bench points compared to Kentucky's 10 in the closely contested battle. LSU trailed by 8 at the half. They followed that up with a win in a bad situational spot on the road against a weak Georgia team, 83-79. Waters had 20 this time on 8-of-14 shooting, and Javonte Smart added 19 off the bench. The Tigers shot 55% from the field in the win. LSU is now 13th in the polls and tied with Tennessee atop the SEC standings. LSU gets Florida and the aforementioned Volunteers at home this week.

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After a rough, disheartening loss the night before to even the series at one game apiece, the Astros tried to shake it off and regroup for a win on Thursday to get the series win against the Diamondbacks in Arizona. Here is a quick recap of the finale:

Final Score: Diamondbacks 5, Astros 4.

Record: 6-6, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Junior Guerra (1-0, 0.00 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Ryan Pressly (0-1, 40.50 ERA).

Bielak tosses an impressive start as Houston puts him in winning position

After both teams finished the first three innings scoreless, the Astros were able to get a little bit of good luck on their side, unlike the night prior. Jose Altuve started the inning with a much-needed single, stole second, then moved to third on a groundout for the second out. That set up Yuli Gurriel, who hit a ball down the third-base line that would strike the bag and bounce away from Arizona, allowing Altuve to score and put Houston up 1-0.

Though he likely would have preferred more run support, Brandon Bielak made do with that one run in his first career MLB start. He was able to complete five innings of work, holding Arizona scoreless over that span despite allowing a runner in each inning. He left in line for the win, with a final line of 5.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 0 HR.

Altuve extends the lead, then Diamondbacks go ahead

Jose Altuve helped double the lead in the top of the sixth, connecting for a one-out solo home run to make it 2-0. With Bielak's night over at five innings, Cy Sneed took over in the bottom of the sixth and allowed back-to-back one-out doubles to cut Houston's lead in half. He allowed a single to put runners on the corners before Dusty Baker would move on to another reliever to try and preserve the lead. Blake Taylor would enter but allowed the tying RBI-single to take Bielak out of winning position. Taylor would go on to allow a go-ahead run before getting out of the jam.

In the bottom of the seventh, Taylor was still on the mound but would only get two outs before another call to the pen. Andre Scrubb would enter and get the final out of the inning. In the top of the eighth, Jose Altuve would improve to 3-for-4 on the night with a two-out double, setting up Alex Bregman for a go-ahead two-run home run to make it 4-3, Houston.

Ryan Pressly allows the walk-off

Scrubb went back to the mound in the bottom of the eighth and was able to record a 1-2-3 inning to move the game to the ninth. After a scoreless top of the ninth, Ryan Pressly would attempt to get the save in the bottom of the inning. Instead, he would allow the walk-off, loading the bases with no outs on a walk and two singles before a two-RBI single to give Arizona the win and the series victory.

Up Next: The Astros will travel to Oakland to kick off a three-game weekend series with the A's on Friday at 8:10 PM Central. The A's will send Chris Bassitt (1-0, 0.93 ERA) to the mound while Houston will turn to Zack Greinke (0-0, 5.00 ERA) to help cut down Oakland's division lead.

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