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Saturday, December 9, 2023

Men's Basketball

No. 6 Cougars advance to Charleston Classic finals vs. Utah

Emanuel Sharp led the Cougars in scoring with 15 points off the bench vs. Utah. | Anh Le/The Cougar

The No. 6 Houston Cougars are headed to the Charleston Classic title game after defeating Utah 76-66 Friday evening.

Shots were not falling for Houston in their early minutes besides redshirt senior forward J’Wan Roberts who scored the first seven Houston points. 

Eventually, back-to-back threes from senior guard Jamal Shead and sophomore guard Terrance Arceneaux gave the rest of the Cougars their spark, marking their first lead of the afternoon at 15-14.

Houston’s lead held until the teams landed on a 26-26 tie. On the next play, the Cougars reclaimed the lead with a made three from senior guard LJ Cryer.

An 8-0 run with contributions from Cryer and Shead led the Cougars into the half.

Houston started the second half leading 39-30, and a back-and-forth battle commenced down the stretch.

Redshirt sophomore guard Emmanuel Sharp contributed five of eight straight Houston points, furthering the Cougars lead to 14.

Despite their lead, Utah would not go away, eventually tying the game at 56 thanks to hot shooting from guard Gabe Madsen. 

A jumper from Arceneaux allowed Houston to go ahead again, and critical threes on back-to-back Houston possessions from Cryer put the Cougars up six, never trailing again. 

Despite Utah’s efforts, it was too little, too late and the Cougars took care of business. 

A made free throw from Sharp clinched Houston’s fifth consecutive win on the season.

Sharp led the team with 15 points followed by Cryer and Shead with 14 a piece. 

The Cougars will take on Dayton in the Charleston Classic title game Sunday at 7:30 p.m.

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