Men's Basketball Sports

UH advances to fifth straight Sweet 16 after defeating Texas A&M Aggies in overtime

Senior forward J’wan Roberts was the only starter who did not foul out in the Cougars 100-95 win over the Texas A&M Aggies. | Anh Le/The Cougar

Houston basketball advances to its fifth straight Sweet 16 after a resilient 100-95 overtime win against Texas A&M in the Round of 32. The Cougars became the first team to win a tournament game with four players fouling out since 1987.

A last-second Aggie three forced UH into an overtime battle without senior guard L.J. Cryer and junior forward Ja’Vier Francis, who fouled out during regulation.

The Cougar’s leading scorer redshirt sophomore guard Emanuel Sharp joined them on the bench with five fouls and 3:41 left in overtime. Junior guard Ramon Walker played his first minutes of the night and delivered, giving the Cougars a critical basket. However, the Aggies put up one of their own on the other end of the court keeping it within two.

With 18.2 seconds left in overtime, senior guard Jamal Shead became the fourth Cougar to foul out for Houston after playing with intensity for the entirety of the game.

Senior guard Ryan Elvin entered the game and stepped up to the free throw line to shoot his fifth and sixth free throws of the season. Elvin delivered, scoring the 99th point that give UH a four point lead.

“Regardless of who we put on the floor tonight, our kids didn’t play together, they played for each other, and there’s a big difference in that,” said head coach Kelvin Sampson.

Before the Cougar’s magic, Texas A&M mounted a miraculous comeback after being down 12 with just over two minutes left in regulation. By the time the clock dropped below a minute, the Aggies had cut Houston’s lead to four after a foul from Cryer sent them to the line to shoot three. An Aggie layup made it a one-possession game. With the clock at 10.1 seconds, A&M called a timeout to drum up one last effort. Two missed baskets beyond the arc kept the Cougars lead at three. The teams went to their final huddles of regulation, as the drama continued to unfold in Memphis.

Madness commenced throughout the second half of play with both squads combining for 21 turnovers in the game after just three total in the first. Following a quiet start, Cryer came through for the Cougars, propelling them to a 10-point lead midway through the second. Senior forward J’wan Roberts returned to the floor after limping off in the first, finishing the game with 13 points and eight boards.  The Aggies shot 29/45 from the line in the game, which proved to be the difference in the epic showdown.

Despite five Cougars picking up at least two fouls in the first 20 minutes of play, Houston headed to the locker room with a 43-38 lead. A feisty A&M team confronted the Cougars from the get-go, gobbling up ten first-half offensive rebounds compared to Houston’s six. A hobbled Roberts finished the half on the bench alongside Francis, who collected three fouls in the first.

Sharp finished the game as the Cougar’s leading scorer with 30 while Shead put up 21 points and dished out 10 assists.

On Friday, the Cougars will match up against a blue blood of college basketball in the likes of the Duke Blue Devils in Dallas.

[email protected]

Leave a Comment