No. 3 UH explodes in second half to beat Temple
Just thirteen days removed from when Temple ended Houston’s second stint being ranked No. 1 by pulling off the shocking upset at Fertitta Center, the Cougars refused to let lightning strike twice.
Down by four at the half, No. 3 UH rode a 13-0 run to begin a dominant second half to get its revenge on the Temple, defeating the Owls 81-65 in Philadelphia on Sunday night to improve to 22-2 (10-1 AAC).
Back in his home state of Pennsylvania, Jarace Walker put on a show for the fans that packed Liacouras Center.
The 6-foot-8-inch UH freshman forward had the hot hand early, hitting his first three 3-pointers of the night on his way to 16 first-half points.
“Jarace is starting to find his groove,” said UH head coach Kelvin Sampson.
Walker, a projected NBA lottery pick, finished with a team-high 23 points. This was Walker’s fifth 20-point game of the season, tying him with Marcus Sasser for most on the team.
Despite Walker rolling offensively, Temple led 37-33 at the half thanks to a 3-point barrage, going 9-for-17 beyond the arc. During a six-minute stretch that began at the 11:15 mark, each of the Owls’ next six made field goals came from 3-point range.
UH held Temple to just three 3-pointers in the second half.
The Cougars turned defense into offense to begin the second half, using three steals, two by Jamal Shead and the other from Walker, to fuel a 13-0 run.
UH continued to pour it on offensively, shooting 18-of-25 from the field in the second half including making 10 straight baskets at one point.
“The second half, I thought we were aggressive at both ends,” Sampson said.
J’Wan Roberts, who played just five minutes in the first half due to foul trouble, was a difference maker on both ends of the floor in the second half, scoring 10 of his 12 points and blocking 4 shots.
Sasser scored 13 points and dished out five assists and Shead added 12 points and a game-high seven assists.
With the win, UH increased its lead to two games over Temple and Tulane for the American Athletic Conference’s top spot. UH’s lone conference loss came to Temple on Jan. 22.