Houston wins outright championship with win over Cincinnati
The Cougars put the cherry on top of a historically great season with an impressive 85-69 win at Cincinnati against the Bearcats, which granted Houston its first outright conference title since 1992.
It was a difficult game to watch for Houston fans early on, with a foul disparity as high as 12 to four in favor of Cincinnati, and it looked like the team was headed for its third loss of the season.
Senior Breaon Brady was forced to sit after just three minutes of action due to picking up three early fouls.
The first two were justified, but the third was quite bizarre. Referees reviewed a play from earlier in the game and retroactively assessed Brady a flagrant foul, bumping his total foul count to three.
Brady is known for his knack of picking up fouls, but head coach Kelvin Sampson would have likely pulled Brady from the game had he assessed the foul in real-time. Instead, Sampson was forced to sit his forward for the remainder of the half.
Despite Brady’s absence, Houston was able to secure a small 37-35 lead before halftime after a foul-laden first half.
Cincinnati opened the second half firing on all cylinders, reeling off a 12-4 run, and seemed to be pulling away from Houston. The fans were into it, the stadium was rocking, but then the Cougars caught fire.
After hitting just four three-pointers throughout the first half, the Cougars became hot behind the arc and shot a ridiculous 8-of-12 from deep as part of a huge 44-22 run to close out the game and crush Cincinnati in its own gym on its Senior Night.
Senior Corey Davis Jr. posted a career-high 31 points on 10-of-22 shooting to go along with two rebounds and six assists. Davis Jr. was also not just settling for long-distance shots, as he spent much of the contest driving hard to the rim. The referees rewarded him plenty of times, as he shot 8-of-9 from the charity stripe.
Junior Armoni Brooks and freshman Nate Hinton were big-time contributors as well, pouring in 14 and 16 points respectively, and combining for 17 of the team’s 42 rebounds.
Houston will not have long to rest, as the AAC Tournament is right around the corner. The next time the Cougars hit the hardwood will be Friday March 15 against either USF or UConn at 11 a.m. in Memphis.