Men's Basketball Sports

No. 4 UH survives Texas A&M comeback to win 70-66

J’Wan Roberts scored 10 points to go with 11 boards and seven assists in UH’s win over the Aggies. | Anh Le/The Cougar

Houston watched its 21-point crumble into nothing the second half, as Texas A&M and Wade Taylor IV came all the way back to tie it at 63. The Cougars’ offense, which was flying around in the first half, had gone completely stagnant, shooting worse the 33% from the floor.

Clinging to a 65-63 with under a minute to play, Jamal Shead, early in the shot clock, passed it to Emanuel Sharp on the wing, where he without hesitation nailed a dagger three.

“The last eight minutes really our offense was terrible,” Sharp said of the shot after the game. “We were really just playing on the fly, and that was one of those out-of-whack shots.”

No. 4 Houston held off a furious comeback from Texas A&M Saturday afternoon, escaping the Toyota Center undefeated with a 70-66 victory. Sharp finished with a team-high 21 points and was named the MVP of the Halal Guys Showcase.

Taylor hit his sixth three of the second half with under 25 seconds left and A&M was given a chance to tie the game after senior forward Henry Coleman III was fouled on a putback attempt following a UH turnover.

Coleman missed both foul shots, and Sharp hit two free throws to seal the win shortly after.

“We didn’t do a great job at (executing). Somebody had to step up,” said guard L.J. Cryer, who added 17 points. “And today it was Emanuel.”

Six assists from Jamal Shead propelled the Cougars to shoot 54% from the floor in the first half, while Houston’s top-ranked defense held Texas A&M to just seven made field goals compared to eight turnovers.

In the second half however, the Cougars went 11-33 from the floor, with many possessions lasting late in the shot clock. After the game, head coach Kelvin Sampson voiced his displeasure with the team’s lack of pace and ball movement.

“We got stagnant. The ball was in Jamal’s hands way too much there at the end,” Sampson said. “But when you’re the coach, you’ve got to fix it. When we get in this situation again, how are we going to improve? That’s what I care the most about.”

Aggie leading scorer Wade Taylor IV led a 12-0 with two straight three-pointers to cut UH’s lead to nine. Taylor continued to take over the game, hitting big shot after big shot before making another big three to tie the game at 63 with 1:30 left to play.

Taylor led all scorers with 34 points, 26 of which came in the second half including six three-pointers.

“We shut their offense down for a long time and then (Aggie head coach) Buzz (Williams) did the smart thing,” Sampson said. “He quit running his offense. Just give it to Taylor.”

After going down 7-0 early, UH responded with a 16-3 run aided by five Aggie turnovers and 12 points combined from guards L.J. Cryer and Emanuel Sharp.

Toward the end of the first half, Cryer nailed back-to-back threes to put the Cougars up 14 and another Sharp bucket gave Houston a 38-23 lead at halftime.

Shead finished with 12 points and eight assists to go with two blocks and a steal. Redshirt senior forward J’Wan Roberts flirted with a triple-double, logging 10 points, 11 boards and seven assists.

In the first half, sophomore wing Terrance Arceneaux left the game with a non-contact injury to his foot. After the game, Sampson said that Arceneaux would likely be out for the rest of the year with an Achilles tear.

“I feel worse for him than I feel better about the game,” Sampson said.

Houston improved to 11-0 with its penultimate non-conference game coming on Dec. 21 against Texas State.

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