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Quentin Grimes scores 22 points in Houston's 70-63 come-from-behind win over Wichita State

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POSTED: January 7, 2021 -- 8:53 a.m. CT

HOUSTON, TX (Fertitta Center) -- The Houston Cougars men's basketball team erased a 10 point deficit to defeat the Wichita State Shockers 70-63 Wednesday night.

The first half was a display of good defense and missed shots. As Reid Gettys, ESPN+ analyst for the game described it, "The defense has been good; but, the shooting has been atrocious."

Houston (9-1 overall, 4-1 American Athletic Conference) made 11 of its 34 field goal attempts in the opening half. Wichita State (6-3, 2-1) made 11 of is 33 field goal attempts. The Coogs shot 2 for 11 from three while the Shockers shot 4 for 13 from three.

A glaring stat from the opening half was points off turnovers: Wichita State had a 14-0 edge in points off turnovers.

"Our defense in the first half was a lot better than being down six because they scored 14 points off turnovers," Head Coach Kelvin Sampson said.

"Let's not complicate (it). This is a simple game. If you don't give the ball away, and make them earn it against your defense; but, they scored 14 points -- THE FIRST HALF -- or turnovers."

Houston trailed 31-25 at halftime.

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At 18:44 of the second half, Wichita State's Dexter Dennis sank two free throws and Houston trailed 35-25. The Shockers went scoreless the next 7 minutes, 21 seconds. Houston responded with a 16-0 run to around the game.

Justin Gorham sank a three-point shot to begin Houston's run. Gorham added a long two-point jumper to bring Houston within five points. After the game, Coach Sampson said Gorham is "the heart and soul of this team".

Quentin Grimes followed with a three-point shot to pull Houston within 35-33 with 16:28 on the clock. At the 14:46 mark, Grimes scored a driving layup to tie the game at 35. DeJon Jarreau knocked down a jumper and scored a driving layup before Grimes added two free throws to complete the 16-0 blitz.

The Shockers had 4 turnovers and missed 9 shots during Houston's big run.

Wichita State climbed within 8 (54-46); however, Grimes drained back-to-back three-point shots to increase Houston's lead to 14 -- its largest of the game -- with 5:44 remaining in the game.

Wichita State used a 9-2 spurt to trim Houston's lead to 7 (62-55); however, Houston kept them at arm's length down the stretch with defense, three offensive rebounds from Gorham, and 8 for 8 foul shooting to close out the victory.

Quentin Grimes led Houston with 22 points. Grimes scored 20 of his 22 points in the second half. Gorham posted his third double-double of the season with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Jarreau posted a double-double as well with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Jarreau also dished out a team-high 5 assists.

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Wichita State scored 2 points off Houston turnovers in the second half.

"A lot of our problems the first half had to do with Wichita State," Coach Sampson commented. "Let's give them credit."

"Our program has a reputation. We're going to get everybody's best shot. Everybody we've played: Central Florida; Tulsa; SMU; Wichita State. All these teams. They're really getting after us.

Sampson continued, "I thought Wichita State was the aggressor in the first half."

"Our defense second half was really, really good. We guarded them," Sampson said. "The second half was good at both ends. The first half they were more aggressive than we were; and, that's something we'll address. But, we moved to 4-1 in the league. "I'm not going to sit here and over evaluate wins."

Coach Sampson added, "Our goal is not to be great statistically. Our goal is to win."


Houston's next game is Saturday, January 9, at 3 p.m., vs Tulane. ESPNU will broadcast the game.

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