UH cruises past Cleveland State in first round of NCAA Tournament
Houston cruised past Cleveland State 87-56 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, but it came at a great cost as the Cougars lost senior guard DeJon Jarreau to a hip injury.
Jarreau exited just 49 seconds into the game with a hip injury that he appeared to suffer when he collided with a Vikings player on a screen. Jarreau did not return to the floor for the remainder of the contest.
With Jarreau off the court, it took UH some time to get settled into the game. The Cougars came out of the gates extremely rusty on the offensive end of the floor.
Junior guard Quentin Grimes, named American Athletic Conference Player of the Year and AP Third Team All-American, two airballed 3-pointers was just one of the many signs that Cougars struggled to find any rhythm and had work hard for every shot they got.
Despite the sloppy and sluggish start, the Cougars took a 37-29 lead into the locker room, in large part due to the play of senior forward Fabian White Jr. who provided the spark the UH offense needed off the bench with eight first half points.
The Cougars returned to their signature style of play led by their lockdown defense. UH forced nine Cleveland State turnovers while blocking five shots and coming up with seven steals in the second half.
Offensively, Grimes heated up, scoring 10 of his 18 points in the second half. Freshman guard Tramon Mark and sophomore guard Marcus Sasser also had hot hands with Mark scoring 13 of his 15 and Sasser adding nine of his 14 in the second half.
Along with Grimes and Sasser and Mark, senior forwards Justin Gorham and Brison Gresham and White all scored double-digits.
Next up, UH will look to advance to its second consecutive Sweet Sixteen on Sunday against the winner of the Clemson-Rutgers game.
For more on The Cougar’s coverage of UH’s run in the NCAA Tournament, click here.