No. 22 Houston falls on the road to Memphis despite Caleb Mills’ big game
MEMPHIS, Tennessee. — Lately, No. 22 Houston has been no stranger to finishing in the losing column in road conference games, and the Cougars matchup with the Memphis Tigers on Saturday at FedExForum was no different.
The Cougars, who fall to 21-7 over and 11-4 in American Athletic Conference, were led by freshman guard Caleb Mills’ 21 points but lost their second-consecutive conference game on the road and fourth overall.
The first half started off hot for the Cougars, with freshman guard Marcus Sasser knocking down back-to-back 3-pointers to put UH up 6-0 early.
Houston’s lead grew to 8-0, but after Memphis scored its first points 6:21 into the game off an easy layup for sophomore guard Alex Lomax, the Cougars’ situation deteriorated.
A five-minute scoring drought midway through the half and 9-of-35 shooting from UH contributed to Memphis running away with the game.
Mills’ series of jumpers late in the half helped the Cougars close in on the Tigers lead, but Houston went into the half down 27-23.
Houston came out of the tunnel firing on most cylinders, junior DeJon Jarreau launching a 3-pointer and another jumper to get things started for UH in the second and get his team within 31-28.
A string of turnovers and fouls over the next few minutes proved costly for Houston, allowing Memphis to grow its lead to as much as eight over the Cougars.
It would not be until about the 13-minute mark that UH’s offense picked up again after Mills hit back-to-back buckets to put the Cougars within two at 39-37.
The Cougars took the lead for the first time in over 20 minutes of game time with just over seven minutes left to play with the help of a layup from junior forward Fabian White Jr. and sophomore guard Nate Hinton and a Sasser 3-pointer from deep.
UH held on to the lead until late in the game, when Memphis tied it at 57.
Things went downhill from there for Houston.
Four-straight free throw makes from the Tigers, followed by two Mills foul shots, left the game tied at 59.
All it took was a free throw from freshman forward Precious Achiuwa and a botched potential game-winner from the Cougars for Houston to end up losers on the road.
On top of Mills’ 21, Sasser contributed 18 points, while Hinton finished the loss with 12 rebounds.