TULSA, Okla. (AP)J’Wan Roberts scored 15 points, Tramon Mark and Emanuel Sharp added 14 each, and No. 3 Houston routed Tulsa 89-50 on Wednesday night in the American Athletic Conference opener for both teams.
The Cougars (13-1) missed five of their first seven shots as Tulsa took an early 8-5 lead, but were deadly thereafter and finished the game shooting 59% (36 of 61).
”Our spacing was good, ball movement was good and the team is unselfish,” Houston coach Kelvin Sampson said. ”We have multiple guys who can make shots and they don’t care who scores as long as we score.”
Mark left the game with 17:51 remaining because of an apparent leg injury and did not return.
Bryant Selebangue led Tulsa (4-8) with 13 points.
”We did some things well and I was happy to see us execute those things,” Tulsa first-year coach Eric Konkol said. ”But the overall stamina required, not just in trying to score, but I thought their passing, sharing, the way they find shots and make difficult shots, it was just a well-rounded performance by them. They are a very good team.”
Houston used a couple of big runs to pull away to a 43-26 halftime advantage, then opened the second half with a 12-2 burst.
Tulsa had success early using screen-and-rolls to free Selebangue, who was 5-for-5 in the first half for 10 points. But the Hurricane finished 19 of 56 (33%) against the nation’s leading team in field goal percentage defense and scoring defense.
”You’re not going to win championships with your offense,” Sampson said. ”You can have great execution and some nights the ball just won’t go in the basket. But you can always count on defense and rebounding. … This team is better than it was a month ago and will be better in another month.”
Houston was equally impressive on offense, scoring inside, from mid-range and making seven 3-pointers while getting just about any shot it wanted.
Tulsa, outsized and overmatched athletically, got a first-hand look at the type of team it would like to become in the future under Konkol.
”I have great respect for what Houston has done and the program they’ve become,” Konkol said. ”I admire all programs that have sustained success. We want to be a gritty and nasty program like they are and we got a lesson tonight in what that looks like.”
Houston: Hosts UCF on Saturday.
Tulsa: At SMU on Sunday.
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