HOUSTON (AP)Marcus Sasser scored 25 points and had five 3-pointers, Emanuel Sharp added 13 points and No. 2 Houston routed Tulsa 80-42 on Wednesday night for their fifth straight win.
Sasser scored 19 points on 8 of 13 shooting in the first half as the Cougars (23-2, 11-1 American Athletic Conference) built a 46-18 halftime lead. The senior guard had the first 12 points in a 24-2 run that gave Houston a 31-12 lead with six minutes remaining in the first half.
”Marcus plays the right way,” Houston coach Kelvin Sampson said. ”We give our kids freedom to make plays, but the caveat is to make the right play.”
Houston shot 46%, including 13 of 35 on 3-pointers. The Cougars outrebounded Tulsa 53-27 and owned a 31-4 advantage in bench points.
”Reggie (Chaney), Ja’Vier (Francis), Terrance (Arceneaux) and Emanuel, that’s our bench,” Sampson said. ”All four are good players. All four contribute and impact winning for us. Not every night. Last time I checked, they bleed and they breathe, so they are going to make mistakes, but I like the fact they are getting better.”
Houston also beat Tulsa 89-50 on Dec. 28. After playing three games in six days, Houston now gets eight days off – their longest stretch of the season without a game.
”We’ve only lost two games, we probably should have lost some more,” Sampson said. ”We’re lucky to only have two losses. Teams don’t usually go 23-2, but again, losses never really bother me that much. Just like I don’t get overly carried away with wins. I do know the pulse of this team, and the thing this team really needs right now is rest.”
Tim Dalger scored 13 points, and Sam Griffin added 11 points for Tulsa (5-18, 1-11).
”We played an elite basketball team tonight,” Tulsa coach Eric Konkol said. ”They’re absolutely a national title contender.
”I thought we did some nice things early. I thought our guys were prepared, and they were ready and came out with some good energy and execution, but it’s hard to withstand against a team like Houston. They’ve just got so many different weapons. They do it on both ends of the floor.”
The Golden Hurricane has lost five straight and fell to 0-9 on the road this season. Tulsa struggled from the field shooting 28% and making 4 of 29 on 3-pointers.
Tulsa: The Golden Hurricane’s last win over a team ranked in the top three was an 84-77 victory over No. 3 Louisville on Feb. 8, 1975. . Tulsa started the game 5 of 10 from the field and ended the first half 2 of 18 as Houston went on the game-deciding run.
Houston: The Cougars have won four straight games over Tulsa. . Houston improved to 10-0 in Quad 4 games. . Houston dished out 21 assists on 31 field goals, led by Jamal Shead, who had 12 assists.
HE SAID IT
”We got a great lesson in what elite basketball looks like on both ends of the floor. I don’t think their sharing of the basketball gets enough notoriety. They share it extremely well. Shead with 12 assists. There’s some things we look at and say `Hey, let’s try to do some of these things better, and this is how it’s done.”’ – Konkol on lessons learned from playing Houston.
Tulsa: Plays at Central Florida on Saturday night.
Houston: Plays at SMU on Feb. 16.
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