Men's Basketball Sports

No. 2 Houston falls on the road in final seconds to Horned Frogs

Houston lost its second game in a row against TCU on Saturday. | Anh Le/The Cougar

Life on the road in the Big 12 doesn’t get any easier.

After a back-and-forth final four minutes, TCU forward Emanuel Miller got a go-ahead layup to fall with 6.7 seconds left, and the No. 2 Cougars were unable to get a shot off in the final seconds. UH lost its second straight game 68-67 on the road.

Head coach Kelvin Sampson opted not to call timeout with 6.7 seconds left, where the play resulted in a game-sealing turnover.

“No way was I going to call timeout. Zero chance,” Sampson said after the game. ” If you call timeout there. Now, Jamie (Dixon, TCU head coach) gets to substitute who he wants. He gets to get his defense set. Now we got to start from zero and go and get going against the set defense. Not in a million years did I think we’re not going to ball back to Jamal (Shead).”

After falling behind as much as seven points, the Cougars led by graduate guard Damian Dunn and senior forward J’Wan Roberts roared back down the stretch to take the lead 62-59 with 4:19 left to play. Dunn scored a season-high 17 points while Roberts hit 20 points on a career-high 18 shot attempts.

“You know, we didn’t play as good of defense as I would have liked,” Sampson said. “TCU is also a very good offensive team.”

After watching a 12-point first-half lead shrink to just two by halftime, Houston could no longer hold off TCU. The Horned Frogs repeatedly got the ball into the paint in the second half, scoring 19 points in the first seven minutes and taking the lead from a rattled Cougars team.

UH struggled to find enough sustained offense for much of the game, going just 2-15 from the three-point line in the first 35 minutes of the game and 4-18 for the game. Senior guard L.J. Cryer — UH’s leading scorer for the season so far — scored just five points and didn’t make his second field goal until the 6:42 mark in the second half. Cryer has shot 4-23 combined in the last two games.

“L.J. Cryer’s a really good shooter. I was happy with our looks, especially his,” Sampson said. “It was just one of those nights. He’s struggling to make open shots right now. We’ll stay with him though.”

TCU was held to just one field goal in the first nine minutes, and Emanuel Sharp forced three turnovers in three straight possessions, allowing UH to grab an early but tentative lead in the first half. Roberts got going early, hitting five of his first seven shots for 10 points to go along with two assists as the Cougars led 23-11 at the under-8 timeout.

A 9-0 run, aided largely by free throws, brought the Horned Frogs within one possession, but Dunn, who scored 11 first-half points, drew a foul and hit a crucial jumper to end a four-and-a-half-minute scoring drought from the Cougars. By halftime, Houston clung to a 31-29 lead, with Dunn and Roberts combining for 23 points. Jamal Shead played just six minutes in the second half due to early foul trouble.

Houston dropped to 14-2 on the season and 1-2 in conference play. After a narrow loss against Iowa State on Tuesday, it is the first time UH has lost consecutive games since 2021 and only the second time under Sampson.

“We should be 3-0 (in the conference). We could easily by 3-0 and we’re not,” Sampson said. “Life on the road. We get nine of these chances.”

Houston will return home to play Texas Tech on Wednesday.

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