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Saturday, December 9, 2023

Men's Basketball

No. 6 Cougars down Stetson in dominant 79-48 showing

Senior guard Jamal Shead tallied eight assists and five steals in Houston’s victory over Stetson, both team-highs. | Anh Le/The Cougar

The No. 6 Houston Cougars moved to 3-0 in the still-young season after a 79-48 rout of the Stetson Hatters at Fertitta Center.

The Cougars got off to a rocky start from the field, going down 6-2 in the opening minutes. Eventually, Houston found its stride, tying the game at six apiece on a layup from redshirt sophomore guard Emanuel Sharp.

A three-pointer from graduate guard Damian Dunn put Houston ahead 9-6, riding the momentum of a 7-0 run.

Still, UH struggled shooting, tallying just a 4 for 15 shooting mark in the early minutes despite the lead.

As the Houston defense tightened, Dunn was the driving force behind the UH run that extended to 17-0. The guard knocked down back-to-back three-pointers, one following a steal he grabbed on the defensive end.

A stellar run of defensive possessions helped the Cougars pile on points. In the first half, UH forced 17 turnovers. With three minutes to play in the first half, Stetson had only been able to shoot ten total field goals.

On the offensive end, UH had fully found its momentum, finishing the half shooting 48 percent from the field and 42 percent from behind the arc.

The Cougars entered halftime with a comfortable 38-16 lead.

Senior guard LJ Cryer led Houston with 14 points, including two three-pointers. Damian Dunn followed with nine points, including three three-pointers.

Entering the second half, Houston had not remotely lost its step.

The Cougars did not let up defensively as Stetson scored just a single field goal in the opening five minutes of the half.

Houston, on the other hand, put itself up by a 30-point margin, expanding the lead to 49-19.

Stetson began to find an offensive rhythm around the 13-minute mark of the half, efficiently knocking down its three-pointer attempts.

Still, Stetson’s efforts only managed to pull the Hatters as close as 23 points before another Houston surge moved the Cougars further ahead once again.

The final stretch of Houston’s dominant showing was defined by a 10-0 run for Houston and a Stetson scoring drought that stretched for over three minutes. Once Stetson finally put points back on the board, the Cougars responded with another run.

At the final whistle, Houston had put together its third consecutive blowout victory, rising above Stetson 79-46 and advancing to 3-0 on the season.

LJ Cryer led the way for the Cougars, scoring a team-high 21 points on 9 for 15 shooting. Senior guard Jamal Shead grabbed 5 steals.

“When we recruited Jamal (Shead) this is what we had envisioned,” Houston head coach Kelvin Sampson said. “That point guard position is important. This is our tenth year and we’ve had three point guards…that tells you a little bit about how solid this program is.”

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