Men's Basketball Sports

No. 2 UH pulls out 82-76 overtime win at No. 11 Baylor

L.J. Cryer scored 15 points including some clutch free throws against his former team Saturday afternoon. | Anh Le/The Cougar

WACO, Texas — The No. 2 Houston Cougars pulled out a massive 82-76 overtime win and survived a furious 16-point comeback on the road against No. 11 Baylor Saturday afternoon. The win marked UH’s first win over Baylor in 28 years and gave UH at least a full-game lead in the standings over the rest of the Big 12.

“I don’t care how the game went,” said head coach Kelvin Sampson after the game. “This was a great road win for us.”

After a missed go-ahead free throw from Baylor and a would-be buzzer-beater from senior guard Jamal Shead was waved off, the two teams headed into overtime knotted at 68.

Overtime saw the Cougars cling to a one-possession lead thanks to a pair of free throws from senior guard L.J. Cryer. The Bears had several chances to cut the lead or tie the game but interior defense from UH and some costly Baylor mistakes, including a turnover on a would-be dunk and an offensive goaltending call, left them bare-handed. Cryer, who finished with 15 points in his return to Baylor, nailed two more clutch free throws to put UH up five and effectively seal the game.

“Coming back, I had mixed emotions,” Cryer, who was booed by fans throughout the game, said. “I expected the boos and stuff like that. It was everything I expected.”

After roaring back from a 16-point halftime deficit, Baylor brought the game to within one point on three different occasions down the stretch. In response, junior center Ja’Vier Francis tipped in a missed shot and later slammed a crucial alley-oop before redshirt sophomore guard Emanuel Sharp nailed two clutch free throws. With under a minute left, UH led 68-65.

A goaltend from Francis put Baylor within one point again before graduate guard Damian Dunn missed one of his two free throws. On the other end, Dunn fouled Baylor center Yves Missi on a made layup. Missi missed the go-ahead foul shot, with 4.4 seconds remaining before  Shead hit a three that was waved off for being just after the buzzer.

Baylor cut the halftime deficit to the Cougars down to just three in short order as UH missed its first seven shots to begin the half. A lay-in from redshirt senior J’Wan Roberts ended a five-minute scoring drought to end the run.

With the Cougars up 50-46 and Baylor threatening to close the gap,  Sharp hit back-to-back tough shots and made another layup to crucially keep Baylor at arm’s reach midway through the second half. Sharp finished with a team-high 18 points on 5-12 shooting.

“Everybody contributed,” Shead said. “It was a great team win.”

Baylor’s RayJ Dennis, Jalen Bridges and Ja’Kobe Walter made big shots throughout the game to keep Baylor in it, combining for 61 of Baylor’s 76 points.

Houston came out firing on all cylinders to begin the game and took a 27-10 lead. The Cougars forced eight turnovers in the first 11 minutes of action and cashed in for 13 points off of them. Offensively, the ball was spread around efficiently as five different UH players made at least two buckets in the first half.

Roberts scored 11 points, dished out three assists and grabbed a career-high five steals in the half to lead a dominant effort on both sides of the ball. Houston entered the locker room with a 41-25 advantage at halftime before Baylor made its run.

Shead recorded a double-double with 12 points and 10 assists while Roberts finished with 17 points, eight boards and six steals.

Houston improved to 24-3 overall and 11-3 in Big 12 play and will return home to play Cincinnati on Tuesday.

[email protected]

Leave a Comment