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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Men's Basketball

No. 5 UH suffers first loss to Tulsa in late-game thriller


UH guard Marcus Sasser dribbles the ball against the Wichita State Shockers in a 2019-20 regular season game at Fertitta Center. In Tuesday's game against Tulsa, the UH guard finished with 14 points. | Mikol Kindle Jr./The Cougar

UH guard Marcus Sasser dribbles the ball against the Wichita State Shockers in a 2019-20 regular season game at Fertitta Center. In Tuesday’s game against Tulsa, the UH guard finished with 14 points. | Mikol Kindle Jr./The Cougar

No. 5 Houston could not stay perfect against Tulsa on Tuesday as the Golden Hurricane snapped the Cougars’ seven-game winning streak with a  65-64 victory.

Junior guard Quentin Grimes led UH with 19 points and 7 rebounds, and Sasser added 14 points, but it wasn’t enough to get past Tulsa.

Senior forward Bryson Gresham came out strong, scoring the Cougars’ first four points. Paired with UH (7-1, 2-1 American Athletic Conference) taking advantage of early free throws, the Cougars were up by five after four minutes.

Back-to-back 3-pointers from Sasser and Grimes highlighted UH’s 11-2 run after utilizing a “small ball” lineup.

Tulsa (5-3, 2-1 AAC) sliced away at the lead after shifting to a zone defense and knocking down three 3-pointers, knotting the game at 15 with under 10 minutes left in the first half.

Grimes showed up on the offensive glass early and added a “blind” and-one to lengthen the Cougars’ advantage.

But the Golden Hurricane’s junior guard Curtis Haywood put up his third three to put Tulsa within two. And they only kept the three’s coming, gaining its first lead of the night at 27-26.

For the first time this season, UH trailed going into halftime.

But the Cougars quickly regained the lead after straight three-point plays from Sasser and Grimes, putting UH up 36-33.

The game stayed close as the advantage bounced between the teams. But Tulsa took advantage of a bad pass on the Cougars’ side, running away with a quick layup to lead 47-44.

Even more late turnovers for UH propelled the Golden Hurricanes lead, as they were out in front by six with 10:35 left in the final half.

Grimes got the offense going again after an assist to Mills for a 3-pointer to cut the lead to three.

A steal from freshman guard Jamal Shead helped but Mills at the free-throw line to get the Cougars’ within one.

The matchup was a nail-biter until the end, as Sasser missed the three, but was able to lay it up to tie the game at 62 with under a minute left.

With 11.5 seconds remaining, UH was down by one. Mills added two to give UH a one-point lead.

But a foul at the very end of the game gave the Golden Hurricane the free throws they needed to take the game by two.

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