Houston upsets No. 16 Wichita State on the road
The defense set the tone early and carried the Houston Cougars to a huge 65-54 victory over the 16th ranked Wichita State Shockers on Saturday in Wichita, Kansas.
Junior forward Fabian White Jr. and freshman guard Marcus Sasser got the Cougars offense going, as the two combined for nine points over the first five minutes of the first half to help Houston jump to an early 12-8 lead.
Freshman guard Caleb Mills and sophomore guard Quentin Grimes came off the bench with about 13 minutes remaining in the half and provided an immediate spark.
Mills knocked down a 3-pointer and Grimes followed with a dunk to extend Houston’s lead to 17-10. All five of these points came off Shockers turnovers.
But Wichita State fought back, and the Shockers cut the Cougars lead to one after they turned consecutive Houston turnovers into five points.
After the Shockers cut the lead to one, the Cougars responded and finished the remaining 6:30 minutes of the half with a 12-3 run.
Thanks to the big run to end the half, Houston carried a 35-25 lead into the half.
The Cougars first half defense held the Shockers to 28.6 percent shooting, came up with four steals and blocked five shots. It was led by redshirt junior center Brison Gresham, who had four of those blocks.
Houston came out of the locker room and exploded. The Cougars opened up the second half with a 12-0 run to increase their lead to 22.
Houston’s defense did not allow Wichita State to score a point over the first seven minutes of the second half. The Shockers first points in the second half came via a pair of free throws with 13 minutes left in the second half.
Going back to the 6:27 mark in the first half, the Cougars held the Shockers without a field goal almost a 15-minute stretch until Wichita State freshman Grant Sherfield knocked down a 3-pointer with 11:33 left in the game to finally break the Shockers’ scoreless streak.
Sherfield’s 3-pointer sparked the Shockers as Wichita State began to cut into the Houston lead. The Shockers offense started to knock down shots and the defense went into a full-court press, which caused a lot of problems for the Cougars and resulted in easy points for Wichita State.
Houston’s lead, which was up to 22 at one point in the second half, was cut all the way down to 9 with two minutes left in the game.
But the Cougars were able to knock down late free throws and withstand the Shockers late comeback attempt, winning the game.
Junior guard Dejon Jarreau posted a double-double with 12 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and three steals.
White scored a team-high 14 points. Grimes and Sasser also contributed 10 points each.
Gresham set the tone defensively, blocking five shots.
With this win, Houston improves to 14-4 on the season and 4-1 in conference play. The Cougars will look to carry the momentum from their win on Thursday when they take on UConn at 8 p.m. at Fertitta Center.