Men's Basketball Sports

No. 3 Cougars wallop Texas in front of record crowd at Fertitta Center

Jamal Shead’s all-around effort guided Houston past Texas at home. | Anh Le/The Cougar

No. 3 Houston used a dominant end to the first half and second half to soundly beat the Texas Longhorns 82-61 Saturday afternoon in front of a record 7,904-strong crowd in the Fertitta Center.

After building a 13-point lead in the half, the Cougars picked up right where they left off, starting the second half with a dominant 12-2 run that sent an already rowdy Fertitta Center crowd into a frenzy. Senior guard L.J. Cryer — who finished as the game’s leading scorer with 26 points, his most as a Houston Cougar — hit four of his first five three-pointers to begin the half, extending the lead to as much as 24.

“When we come home, we’re so proud of our crowds,” said head coach Kelvin Sampson of the crowd. “Now that we’re in the Big 12, our crowds are matching (other team’s) crowds. I wouldn’t trade our Fertitta Center crowd for any of them.”

The sold-out Fertitta was packed and deafeningly loud at tip-off and didn’t let up for the entire game. With about eight minutes left in the first half, senior guard Jamal Shead put together an impressive sequence of a basket, a steal and a transition dish to Cryer for a massive three to put UH up 27-20 and force a Texas timeout.

Shead made his presence known on both sides of the floor, finishing with 16 points, six assists, a season-high six steals and a career-high 11 boards. He also primarily guarded Texas’ leading scorer Max Abmas, who finished 2-14 from the floor with just seven points. Shead became the first player in UH history to record 1,100 points, 200 steals, 600 assists and win 100 games in his career.

“He (Shead) was doing what he wanted to do out there,” said Texas head coach Rodney Terry.

In the first half, stifling defense from the Cougars forced the Longhorns to go nearly six minutes without scoring a point, allowing UH to build its lead past double digits. Meanwhile, Houston dominated the boards, grabbing 26 total rebounds — 10 of which were offensive — to Texas’ 18. Houston entered the half with a 40-27 lead over the Longhorns. Texas was held to just 38.6% shooting from the floor and was thoroughly outrebounded 45-34 by the Cougars for the game.

That’s how we practice,” Cryer said. “We go out there expecting to be the tougher team.”

Sophomore guard Emanuel Sharp added 15 points and four steals, tying his career-high.

Houston improved to 22-3 on the season and 9-3 in Big 12 play. Up next, UH will stay home to play No. 10 Iowa State on Monday night for sole possession of first place in the conference.

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