Men's Basketball Sports

No. 2 Cougars suffer first loss in road battle vs. Iowa State

Anh Le/The Cougar

An early 14-0 deficit, shooting woes and a season-high turnover count defined the No.2 Houston Cougars’ loss to Iowa State on Tuesday evening.

It was a disastrous start to UH’s first Big 12 road game as Iowa State dominated the opening minutes. Cold shooting and repeated turnovers left the Cougars trailing by double digits before sophomore guard Emanuel Sharp finally got Houston on the board with a pair of three-pointers.

The Cyclones maintained a comfortable lead while Houston’s offensive struggles continued. At one point, the Iowa State lead was as high as 20-8, Sharp having been UH’s lone scorer midway through the first half.

UH managed to put together a 6-0 run that once again cut into the deficit. With the first half winding down, Houston’s offense began to keep pace with the Cyclones. Iowa State found success in the paint, drawing fouls to keep the Cougars at arm’s length.

The Cougars entered halftime trailing 31-21.

Tasked with overcoming a halftime deficit for the first time this season. UH came out of the halftime break with newfound comfort. Senior guard LJ Cryer, who struggled from the field in the first half, opened the scoring with a three-pointer. After UH cut further into the Iowa State lead, Cryer scored a jumper to pull Houston to within a single possession deficit.

Iowa State again held UH back, with a few scores moving its lead up to 41-34.

With the clock ticking down and time running out for UH’s flawless record to remain intact, senior guard Jamal Shead called his own name.

Sharp hit a crucial three-pointer to begin UH’s most important run of the game. Shead followed by drawing a foul, hitting both free throws to bring the Cougars within two points of the Cyclones.

With just under eleven minutes remaining, Shead made a highlight reel play on the defensive end. As Iowa State’s 6-foot-10 forward Robert Jones rose up in the paint to shoot, Shead rose up with him to send his shot back to the arc. Iowa State’s Tamin Lipsey was at the perimeter to grab the rebound until Shead sprinted back to grab the steal, immediately sprinting the other end for a fastbreak layup that leveled the score for the first time since the opening tip.

Houston could not capitalize on the evened score as Iowa State hit a pair of baskets to go ahead by five points. UH pulled it back within one point to begin a back-and-forth that continued until Shead hit a clutch jumper to put Houston up 51-50 and give the team its first lead of the game.

The Cyclones refused to go down easy, pulling back ahead and forcing freshman forward Joseph Tugler into fouling out in the process. Shead hit another jumper to tie the game and give Houston one final chance with under one minute remaining.

Unfortunately for the Cougars, things did not work out that way. Iowa State forward Milan Momcilovic hit an incredible fadeaway jumper to move Iowa State ahead. With 16 seconds to play senior guard LJ Cryer overshot a three-pointer to seal the game in Iowa State’s favor.

UH struggled from the field, shooting just 38 percent on field goals and 27 percent from behind the arc. Houston also suffered 16 turnovers, nearly twice its average turnovers per game entering the night.

Sharp led Houston in scoring with 20 points on an efficient six for 12 clip, while Shead followed behind with 14 points albeit on just five for 15 from the field.

Houston now drops to 14-1 overall and 1-1 in the Big 12, no longer college basketball’s lone remaining undefeated team.

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