FINAL FOUR BOUND: UH narrowly escapes Oregon State to advance
Nearly four decades of waiting are finally over as Kelvin Sampson has led Houston back to the Final Four for the sixth time in program history after the Cougars defeated Oregon State, winning 67-61 Monday night in Indianapolis.
The Cougars will take on the winner of Baylor-Arkansas in one of the two national semifinals Saturday night.
UH came out of the gates and quickly built up a double-digit lead. From playing lockdown defense, holding the Beavers to just 17 first-half points and eight turnovers, to dominating the offensive glass and creating second-chance opportunities, the Cougars executed the staples of their program to perfection.
Sophomore guard Marcus Sasser had the hot hand early from beyond the arc, hitting his first of three first-half 3-pointer just seconds into the game to get the scoring going and give the Cougars a lead which they never surrendered.
Senior guard DeJon Jarreau continued to do what he’s done all season, playing lockdown defense and doing a little bit of everything on the offensive end.
Jarreau, who finished with 10 points, eight rebounds eight and assists, held Oregon State’s leading scorer Ethan Thompson to just 3-12 shooting.
Sasser remained on fire from beyond the arc coming out of the locker room, knocking down two more 3-pointers balls in the opening minutes of the second half.
But Oregon State did not lay down and die. The Beavers started hitting shots and their 1-3-1 zone presented a mountain of problems for the Cougars offensively.
The Beavers tied the game up on a banked 3-pointer with just under four minutes, completely erasing their 17-point halftime deficit.
Junior guard Quentin Grimes answered with a cold-blooded 3-pointer of his own to put UH back on top.
Offensive rebounding helped the Cougars down the stretch as UH pulled down one board after another to get second-chance opportunities as well as get to the free-throw line to close out the game and secure a 67-61 victory.
Sasser finished with a team-high 20 points while Grimes added 18.
While the Cougars are no strangers to the Final Four, UH will head into the weekend looking to accomplish something no team in school history has ever done: bring a championship back to Houston.
For more on The Cougar’s coverage of UH’s run in the NCAA Tournament, click here.