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Sunday, February 5, 2023

Men's Basketball

No. 2 UH survives scare against Kent State


J'Wan Roberts notched his second double-double of the season with 11 points and 14 rebounds in UH's win over Kent State Saturday afternoon at Fertitta Center. | Anh Le/The Cougar

J’Wan Roberts notched his second double-double of the season with 11 points and 14 rebounds in UH’s win over Kent State Saturday afternoon at Fertitta Center. | Anh Le/The Cougar

During a week when No. 1 and No. 3 fell, second-ranked Houston didn’t falter under pressure.

Down one with less than a minute remaining, junior point guard Jamal Shead drove to his right and banked in a layup. A couple of defensive stops and four perfect free throws from senior guard Marcus Sasser and UH overcame turnovers and poor shooting to survive the upset, defeating Kent State 49-44.

“I was proud of the win. I’m not throwing it away,” said UH head coach Kelvin Sampson after the game. “There’s not a lot of teams that can shoot 32 percent and win.”

Sasser finished with a game-high 19 points. Junior forward J’Wan Roberts recorded his second double-double of the season, scoring 11 points to go along with 14 rebounds.

The win likely cemented the Cougars’ spot as the new top-ranked team in the AP poll come Monday morning.

Turnovers, which UH committed a season-high 23, kept Kent State in the game despite being held to just 23.8 percent shooting from the field.

“They swarmed,” Shead said after the game. “We’ve never turned the ball like this this year.”

The Golden Flashes jumped out to an early 10-point lead, UH’s largest deficit of the season, and led all the way until the 1:24 mark of the first half when Sasser drilled a pair of free throws to give the Cougars their first lead of the afternoon.

UH held Kent State without a field goal for the final 8 minutes, 30 seconds of the first half.

The Cougars once again found themselves in a hole as the Golden Flashes opened up the second half on an 8-0 run. 

Back-to-back 3s, UH’s first two of the game, from junior guard Tramon Mark and Sasser tied the game, sparking a 15-0 Cougars’ run midway through the second half.

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