Men's Basketball Sports

No. 1 Houston downs Cincinnati for sixth straight win

L.J. Cryer scored a game-high 22 points in Tuesday’s win over Cincinnati. | Anh Le/The Cougar

The No. 1 Cougars beat the Cincinnati Bearcats 67-59 on Tuesday inside the Fertitta Center to earn their sixth straight win.

Houston got off to a nearly perfect start in the first half, sticking to its bread and butter. A suffocating defense held Cincinnati to 26% from the field and only 10% from behind the three-point line, the defensive pressure gave way to six steals by the squad — one of which led to a fast-break dunk by senior forward J’wan Roberts that sent Fertitta Center into a frenzy.   

Senior guard L.J. Cryer led the way in scoring with eight early points including a long three that helped the Cougars jump out to a 16-4 lead holding the Bearcats to an abysmal 4-18 from the field midway through the half.

The Cougars entered a scoring drought near the end of the half going scoreless for nearly five minutes but wouldn’t allow Cincinnati to capitalize on the offensive struggles, Junior forward Ja’Vier Francis was a force on the visitor’s end pulling down for rebounds and back-to-back blocks to maintain the UH lead. 

Sophomore guard Emanuel Sharp ended the dry spell with a buzzer-beating three to send the game into halftime with UH leading 26-17.

Things got chippy to start the second half when Bearcat forward Aziz Bandaogo was called for a flagrant foul on senior guard Jamal Shead. After nailing both free throws, Shead dished back-to-back assists to Sharp on three-pointers to widen the gap to 17 points.

Though he struggled to score going 2-10 from the field, Shead made his presence known as a playmaker dishing out 11 assists. 

Cryer kept up the scoring for Houston putting up 202 points to lead the game, while Roberts added 15 points on an efficient 4-6 from the field and pulled down five rebounds to help seal the win.

On the defensive end, the Cougars grabbed 15 steals and forced 19 turnovers while only giving up 10 for the game.

UH improved to 25-3 on the year and 12-3 in Big 12 play. Up next, the team will head on the road to face the Oklahoma Sooners on March 2.

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