No. 25 Houston survives foul trouble, rallies to down UConn
Despite leading for less than seven minutes and eight different lead changes, the No. 25 Cougars survived the UConn Huskies at Fertitta Center on Thursday night for the 63-59 win.
Houston, now 15-4 and 4-1 in the American Athletic Conference, was led by junior guard DeJon Jarreau’s near triple-double and freshman guard Caleb Mills’ late-game heroics.
Jarreau, who played all but five minutes in the win, finished the night with 18 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists, coming close to the first UH triple-double since 1993, while Mills led the team with 20 points.
UH’s offense seemed to start the game strong, with senior center Chris Harris Jr. scoring two early dunks and junior guard DeJon Jarreau hitting a jumper from the paint to give the UH a quick 6-3 lead.
The Cougars’ lead, however, fell apart just a few minutes later when UConn senior guard Christian Vital’s driving layup tied the game at 8.
Sophomore guard Quentin Grimes provided relief with 12 minutes left in the half with his first two of points off the bench, but Houston and UConn went back and forth on offense for the rest of the half.
Many of the Cougars’ first-half woes can be attributed to the foul bug that overcame both teams, who combined for 23 fouls by the end of the first half, including a flagrant on Grimes at the 10:35 mark.
Despite a late-half push, led by Grimes and his team-leading nine points in the first 20 minutes, the Cougars went into the locker room on the other side of a 30-25 Huskies’ lead.
Houston’s second half saw the offensive explosion from Jarreau and Mills that saved UH’s night.
The duo combined for 30 of Houston’s 38 points in the final 20 minutes, including the Cougars’ final 28 points of the game.
Mills’ highlight of the game came late in the second half, at the 3:50 mark, when the redshirt freshman sunk a fast-break 3-pointer off a UConn turnover to put the Cougars within one at 50-49.
Two Jarreau shots from the foul line with under three minutes to play gave UH the lead, and the Cougars never looked back.
The Huskies nearly stormed back to take the lead back, but Mills sealed the game with a pair of free throws of his own.