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Thursday, June 1, 2023

Men's Basketball

No. 1 UH defeats Wichita State on senior night to extend win streak to 10

In his final game at Fertitta Center, UH senior guard Marcus Sasser scored 24 points in the Cougars' win over Wichita State on Thursday night. | Anh Le/The Cougar

In his final game at Fertitta Center, UH senior guard Marcus Sasser scored 24 points in the Cougars’ win over Wichita State on Thursday night. | Anh Le/The Cougar

Marcus Sasser tied the Houston record for career 3-pointers with 261 and Jamal Shead scored a career-high 25 points as the top-ranked Cougars extended their win streak to 10 games, defeating Wichita State 83-66 on Thursday night in front of a record-setting Fertitta Center crowd of 7,879.

The Cougars trailed most of the first half as the Shockers shot the lights out, hitting 10 of their first 12 field goals. Wichita State finished the first half shooting a whopping 72.2 percent from the field.

“We had some guys that didn’t have the right mindset to start the game, whereas Wichita State did,” Sampson said. “(Wichita State) came out here to play. Our guys came out here for a memorial service.” 

In the second half, the Cougars took it up a notch on both ends of the floor.

After all seven of his first-half points came at the free throw line, Sasser got hot from beyond the arc once his first field goal, a 3-pointer, went down with 16:13 left in the first half.

The Cougars broke the game open from there.

“Once we got rolling in the second half, we were good,” said UH head coach Kelvin Sampson.

Jarace Walker, a projected NBA lottery pick, had 13 points and nine rebounds. In what was likely his final home game at UH, the 6-foot-8-inch freshman showed off his athleticism to the UH faithful one last time — pulling off a reverse dunk with 1:27 remaining.

Partying ensued as the Cougars celebrated their outright American Athletic Conference regular-season championship, which was clinched Saturday with the win over East Carolina, in a fashion that has become a tradition at UH under Sampson— cutting down nets.

“That’s our first goal every year,” Sampson said. “We want to win the conference and No. 2 we want to make the NCAA Tournament. Those are the two major goals.”

Shead, Sasser’s partner in crime in the Cougars’ backcourt, scored a career-high 25 points.

“They weren’t really helping off me as much, so a lot of my guys were telling me to go in and score,” Shead said. “I work on it every day. It was just being confident in me.”

Sasser finished with 22 points.

Despite Wichita State having the hot hand, UH put together a 9-0 run, fueled by its defense, to erase an early deficit and go up 23-22.

Senior forward Reggie Chaney put UH up 33-31 as time expired in the first half on a layup off the feed from Shead. 

UH made its first 16 free throws and finished 20-for-22 from the charity stripe.

The next time UH takes the Fertitta Center floor, it will do so as a member of the Big 12.

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