Houston outlasts Cincinnati behind Marcus Sasser’s 21 points to remain atop the AAC
Houston’s freshman dynamic duo of Caleb Mills and Marcus Sasser ignited their teammates and the crowd as the two combined for 36 points in the Cougars 68-55 victory over Cincinnati on Sunday afternoon at Fertitta Center.
Although the Cougars did not shoot the ball particularly well, they pulled down 22 offensive rebounds, which they converted into 13 second-chance points.
Down by three points nearing the final five minutes of the first period, the Cougars went on a 13-3 run to close out the half and took a seven point lead into the locker room.
Houston came out of the break and immediately extended their lead to double digits thanks to sophomore Nate Hinton’s quick five points and junior Brison Gresham’s alley oop dunk.
The Bearcats threatened to comeback, cutting the Cougars lead to five at one point in the second half, but Sasser had an answer every time Cincinnati appeared to be making a run as he scored 12 straight points to keep Houston on top.
Sasser led the Cougars with a team-high 21 points, including five 3-pointers, and pulled down six boards. Hinton added 16 points and seven rebounds and redshirt freshman Caleb Mills scored 15.
Senior Chris Harris Jr. made his presence felt in the paint, pulling down 11 rebounds, six of which were offensive, and blocking four shots.
Sasser suffered an injury towards the end of the game, and he limped towards the bench on his own but did not return to the contest. Mills also got banged up before halftime but returned seconds later.
Sophomore guard Quentin Grimes made his return for Houston after being sidelined with a hip injury.
With this 68-55 win, Houston improves to 22-7 on the season and 12-4 in conference play, which puts them in a tie with Tulsa for first place in the AAC with two games remaining before the start of the American tournament.