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6th-ranked Houston defeats SMU 70-48 for 8th straight win

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UPDATED: January 31, 2021 -- 6:53 p.m. CT

POSTED: January 31, 2021 -- 6:36 p.m. CT

HOUSTON, TX (Fertitta Center) -- The 6th-ranked Houston Cougars (4th in NET, 6th in AP, 6th in USA Today) defeated the SMU Mustangs 70-48 Sunday afternoon to improve to 15-1 overall and 10-1 in the American Athletic Conference.

When SMU forward Feron Hunt scored the first 2 points of the game, at the 17:48 mark of the first half, Houston trailed in a ball game for the first time since January 9, 2021, versus the Tulane Green Wave. Houston had led in the previous 195 minutes, 13 seconds of game action.

Houston trailed a total of 4 minutes, 40 seconds in Sunday's ball game.

Both teams played solid defense in the game.

"There's no secrets on either team," Kelvin Sampson, Houston Head Coach, said after the game. "I thought they guarded us pretty good, too."

"But, our defense has been getting better. We've been working on two or three things."

With the game tied at 15, Houston's Marcus Sasser hit a three-point basket for an 18-15 Houston lead. Reggie Chaney made two free throws to increase Houston's lead to 20-15. Houston led by as much as 6 points in the opening half. Chaney scored a team-high 10 points in the first half.

Chaney was Houston's only player to make more than 50 percent of his field goal attempts in the first half. Chaney was a perfect 4-for-4 from the floor and 2-for-2 from the line in 14 minutes off the bench.

Houston shot 10 for 29 from the floor in the first half and scored 0.933 points per possession in the half.

SMU shot 32.0% (8 for 25) in the half and scored 0.857 points per possession.

Houston is now 11-0 on the year when leading at halftime.

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Houston's DeJon Jarreau split 2 free throws to get Houston on the scoreboard in the second half at the 18:46 mark. Marcus Sasser hit a three-pointer 32 seconds later for a 32-24 Houston lead.

Then, Sasser stole a pass intended for SMU guard Kendric Davis; as Sasser attempted to race down the court, Davis reached out and grabbed Sasser and was called for a foul. The officials stopped play to check the replay monitor; and, after minutes of deliberation, decided Davis' foul was a Flagrant 1 foul which resulted in 2 free throws and Houston's keeping possession after the foul shots.

Sasser sank both free throws and Quentin Grimes knocked down a three-point shot for a 37-24 Houston lead. SMU called a 30-second timeout. Tyson Jolly scored after the timeout; but, the Mustangs did not get closer than 11 points the final 17 minutes of the ball game.

Neither team scored for more than three minutes; but, Marcus Sasser ended the drought with 1 free throw and a three-point basket for a 48-31 Houston lead with 11:13 on the clock. Houston freshman Tramon Mark scored a putback layup to boost the margin to 19.

Cameron Tyson sank a three-point basket for a 64-41 lead -- Houston's largest lead of the game -- with 2:40 remaining. Tyson scored a Houston season-high 31 points in Houston's 83-60 road win over Tulane on January 28. He scored 5 points in 6 minutes Sunday versus SMU.

Houston has now held its opponent to 60 points or less 13 times this season.

Justin Gorham pulled down a game-high 17 rebounds in the win. Gorham has had a double-digit rebounding performance in nine of his last 12 games, including eight-straight. Gorham is the first Coog to record eight consecutive double-digit rebounding performances since Tim Moore in 1995-96.

Gorham had a season-high 14 defensive rebounds today. His previous season high of defensive boards was 10 against SMU on Jan. 3, 2021.

Gorham has had 15 or more rebounds in four games this season.

"I don't know what we would do without him," Sasser said Gorham's rebounding. "Really, because, every time we shoot a ball, I just know if we miss it, 50 percent of the misses he probably gone get."

DeJon Jarreau added, "A lot of times in games you hear Justin's voice, like, 'Shoot it.' If he feels like you're open, he wants you to shoot it; so, he'll have an opportunity to rebound. And, that's a great thing about him that he cares more about that than getting his shots."

Houston is now 15-0 on the year when leading with 5:00 left in the game.



Houston's next game is scheduled for Wednesday, February 3, at 5 p.m., at the East Carolina Pirates. ESPN+ will stream the game. (Get ESPN+)

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