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Number 17/18 Houston tops Boise State, 68-58

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UPDATED: November 28, 2020 -- 8:15 a.m. CT

POSTED: November 27, 2020 -- 7:37 p.m. CT

HOUSTON, TX (Fertitta Center) -- The Houston Cougars (17th / 18th-ranked) defeated Boise State 68-58 Friday afternoon to improve to 2-0 on the young season. Quentin Grimes led Houston with a game-high 25 points. Houston redshirt-freshman J'Wan Roberts pulled down a game-high 14 rebounds for the Coogs in 21 minutes of playing time.

"The guy I was most impressed in the second half for us was J'Wan Roberts," Kelvin Sampson, Houston Head Coach said during his postgame press conference. "You're talking about a freshman that had 14 rebounds against a team that's projected to go to the NCAA Tournament. A lot of people think they're supposed to win their league. This kid had 14 rebounds as a freshman."

Roberts knows his role on the team; and, more importantly, he accepts his role on the club.

"My role is not to go and score 15 points a game," J'Wan said after the game. "We have (other) guys to do that. I'm the guy that gets them (his teammates) second points because we've not been a (make the) first shot team; so, even if I don't get the rebound, even if I just tip it, I still get a chance for another teammate to get the rebound.

"I feel like my job is to come in the game and impact winning by rebounding and running the floor; pick-and-roll coverage; just give my guys shots."

Boise State led 5-2 with 15 plus minutes remaining in the first half. DeJon Jarreau sank a three-point shot to tie the game at 5. Caleb Mills drained one of his yet-to-be patented one-legged fadeaway jumpers to put Houston ahead 7-5. Houston scored added 4 straight points to lead 11-5 with 12:33 until halftime.

Houston led 14-9 when Quentin Grimes heated up. Grimes scored a layup; then, he sank a three-point jumper. After Jarreau split two free throws and Marcus Sasser made a three-point shot to increase Houston's lead to 24-12, Grimes scored 10 consecutive points for the Coogs.

Grimes scored 17 of Houston's 34 points in the first half. Grimes played 15 minutes in the half and made 8 of his 11 field goal attempts. Grimes finished the game with 25 points (9 of 15 field goal shooting) and 8 rebounds.

Grimes said the shots he made in the opening half are shots he practices with Houston Assistant Coach Quannas White.

"Just kind of what I've been working every day with Coach Q (Quannas White). We work on those shots. My teammates did a great job of finding me when I kept shooting it, when I kept making it. Marcus did a great job of finding me, getting me in my rhythm.

"Coach (Sampson) does a great job of allowing his guards to keep attacking. I was just in attack mode."

"The thing I keep staying on Quentin about -- the 25 points, 9 of 15 shooting doesn't surprise me -- he's that good. It's the 4 turnovers.

"He's got to eliminate that by getting off it (the ball) and trying to make a play when the play's not there. That's his next step."

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Sampson added of Grimes, "He's improved in so many areas. He's a good defender. He's becoming a good rebounder. He's getting tougher. He can score. He's just gotta get cleaner. He's got to handle the ball better: be a better ball handler and a better passer. But, that's why you have coaches. My job is to push him places that he won't push himself. That's why he came he though is we're going to keep challenging him."

Grimes knows he needs to reduce his turnovers: "He (Coach Sampson) spoke to me during the game, I got to clean that up and have a cleaner game."

The Coogs led Boise State 34-19 at halftime; and, Houston led 52-32 with 9:37 remaining in the ball game. However, the Broncos took advantage of Houston's careless turnovers and sloppy play to get within 7 points twice in the final 3 minutes and 25 seconds.

The Coogs made 9 of 25 field goal attempts in the second half and committed 11 turnovers in the second 20 minutes. Six of the 11 turnovers happened in a 4 minute stretch which helped Boise State slice Houston's 54-39 lead to 59-52 with 2:26 remaining on the game clock.

Houston's 14 for 15 free throw shooting in the half helped seal the win and improve to 2-0.

Caleb Mills scored 12 points (4 for 6 field goals, 4 for 4 free throws) in 17 minutes.

Boise State shot 50% (15 for 30 from the floor) in the second half; however, the Broncos were 0 for 8 from three-point range and 9 for 14 from the foul line. Boise State made 15 of 26 free attempts in the ball game.


Houston's next game is Sunday, November 29, at 4:30 p.m., against Texas Tech, inside Dickies Arena, in Fort Worth, TX. The game is part of the Southwest Showcase. ESPN2 is broadcasting the game.

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