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Shorthanded Cougars dominate in second half; advance past No. 25 Texas Tech

UH overcame an injury to J’Wan Roberts and used a dominant second half to beat Texas Tech in the Big 12 semifinals. | Anh Le/The Cougar

The No. 1 Houston Cougars overcame an injury to redshirt senior forward J’Wan Roberts in Friday’s Big 12 semifinal game against No. 25 Texas Tech to advance to their sixth consecutive conference title game in an 82-59 win. UH outscored the Red Raiders 50-30 in the second half thanks in large part to 23 points combined from guards Emanuel Sharp and L.J. Cryer.

Roberts suffered a shin contusion while attempting to block a layup early in the game. He took to the court briefly following the injury but was placed on the bench for the remainder of the game after noticeably limping early in the second half.

“I landed on somebody’s foot and felt a little shock through my leg,” Roberts said. “I should be ready for tomorrow.”

The Cougars used a massive 20-1 run early in the second half to break open a 37-37 tie. The team held the Red Raiders without a field goal for over seven minutes while UH began the second half 7-for-8 from the floor.

Houston eventually widened its lead to as large as a 27-point gap thanks to another 11-0 run as Sharp and Cryer combined and six three-pointers in the second half. Texas Tech made six second-half field goals as a team. Cryer and Sharp finished with 20 and 17 points respectively.

“We understood what we had to do,” said senior guard Jamal Shead. “J’Wan playing hobbled kind of got us off to a good start in the second half, because he’s such a warrior and we kind of took it from there.”

Shead logged a double-double with 12 points to go along with 10 assists.

UH will play the winner of Friday’s second semifinal game between Baylor and Iowa State for the Big 12 Tournament Championship on Saturday.

Much like in Thursday’s win over TCU, Texas Tech, after scoring on its first possession, missed 12 consecutive shots and committed five turnovers to clear the way for a 14-0 UH run. But the Red Raiders woke up in a big way towards the end of the half while UH played without its veteran power forward.

Texas Tech hit its final five shots in the half to shrink what was a 15-point lead with six minutes to play in the first half down to just three at halftime before the eventual second-half run by UH.

Damian Dunn scored all eight of his points off the bench in the first half while fellow bench guard Mylik Wilson added nine points and six rebounds. UH improved to 30-3 on the season, marking the third straight season UH has eclipsed the 30-win mark.

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