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by: Kris Gardner, United States Basketball Writers Association member. Credentialed media member since 1997. USBWA approved online journalist. Voter of Katrina McClain, Naismith, USBWA, and Wooden awards.

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Coogs defeat Temple, 68-51

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UPDATED: January 27, 2021 -- 11:24 a.m. CT

POSTED: January 23, 2021 -- 3:09 p.m. CT

PHILADELPHIA, PA (The Liacouras Center) -- The 8th-ranked Houston Cougars (8th in AP, 8th in USA Today, 4th in NET) improved to 13 and 1 this season with a workmanlike 68-51 road win over the Temple Owls Saturday afternoon.

Houston senior big man Brison Gresham scored on a jump hook in the paint to put Houston on the board 2-0. Houston never trailed the rest of the game.

Temple (3-4 overall, 2-4 in American Athletic Conference) got within 4-3 before Houston's Marcus Sasser made consecutive three-pointers for a 10-3 Houston lead. Houston pushed the lead to 19-6 before Temple scored 7 consecutive points to trail 19-13.

After a timeout by Houston Head Coach Kelvin Sampson, the Coogs answered with a 7-0 run to lead 26-13. Houston led by as much as 19 (34-15) in the first half and took a 36-21 lead into halftime.

Houston shot 44.8% (13 for 29) from the floor in the first half including 54.5% (6 for 11) from three-point range; however, Houston turned over the ball 8 times.

Houston had 11 assists on 13 baskets. The Coogs scored 1.0 point per possession in the first half while the Owls scored 0.6 points per possession.

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Neither team scored for nearly two minutes to begin the second half. Temple got on the board first when Jeremiah Williams split two free throws at the 18:06 mark of the half.

Justin Gorham ended Houston's field goal drought with a jump hook for a 38-22 Houston lead with 17:18 on the clock.

Houston kept Temple at arms' length the next 6 minutes of the half. Temple managed to get within 13 points twice; however, Gorham and DeJon Jarreau each knocked down corner three-point shots during a 9-1 Houston run to increase the lead to 58-37 with 7:49 remaining.

Quentin Grimes and Marcus Sasser hit back-to-back jumpers for Houston's largest lead of the game (66-42) with 3:20 left in the game.

Grimes and Sasser each scored 15 points to lead Houston. Justin Gorham added 14 points and 10 rebounds for his fifth double-double this season. DeJon Jarreau filled the stat sheet with 9 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists.

Houston finished the game scoring 1.097 points per possession while Temple scored 0.823 points per possession.

When asked what grade he'd give the team up to this point of the season, Jarreau said, "I'd give us like a B minus. I feel like there's a lot of stuff that we can clean up."


Houston's next game is scheduled for Thursday, January 28, at 8 p.m., at Tulane. ESPN will broadcast the game.

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