No. 5 UH hands No. 2 Virginia its first loss of the season
After failing the test a week ago against Alabama, ranked eighth at the time, redemption was what No. 5 Houston wanted as it traveled to Charlottesville, Va to take on undefeated and second-ranked Virginia.
Redemption is exactly what the Cougars got, defeating the Cavaliers 69-61 for the program’s first top-10 regular-season win since Christmas Day in 1983 when third-ranked UH defeated No. 10 Louisville.
By taking down No. 2, UH (11-1) picked up its highest ranked road win in program history.
After missing his first four shots of the afternoon, a slumping Marcus Sasser found his touch.
Tramon Mark penetrated the Virginia defense, finding a wide-open Sasser on the right wing. Swish.
Minutes later, Jamal Shead hit Sasser, coming off a screen from Reggie Chaney, for an uncontested look from the top of the key. Swish.
A few possessions later, Shead hit an open Sasser in transition on the right wing. Swish.
Virginia was in trouble from that point on as UH turned what was once a 9-0 deficit into a 26-19 lead.
While Sasser, who finished with 13 points, went cold in the second half, Jarace Walker picked up the slack. The 6-foot-8-inch freshman forward remained unfazed despite the hostile environment inside John Paul Jones Arena, scoring 13 of his game-high 17 points in the second half. Walker also led the Cougars with seven rebounds while also dishing out four assists.
After struggling from the charity stripe down the stretch against Alabama, UH knocked down its free throws late to hold off Virginia’s comeback push.
Mark scored 13 points to go along with six rebounds and three assists.
Shead had 11 points and junior forward J’Wan Roberts added 10 points to go along with six rebounds as all five UH starters finished in double figures scoring.