Hot start for No. 3 Houston Cougars keeps blazing in rout of Texas Southern

Houston Cougars men’s basketball guard Marcus Sasser drives against Oral Roberts. Sasser was named the Most Valuable Player of the Cougar Classic. (Courtesy Sean Thomas)

Hot start for No. 3 Houston Cougars keeps blazing in rout of Texas Southern

The No. 3 Houston Cougars men’s basketball team continued its dominance to start the season with a lopsided victory over Texas Southern in the final game of the Cougar Classic on Wednesday night. UH routed TSU 83-48.

For Houston (4-0), it was once again senior guard Marcus Sasser that hurt the opposition. Sasser carved up the Tigers’ defense in every way imaginable. He beat defenders off the dribble, got through tight windows, drew contact, hit his free throws, and also served as a playmaker.

Sasser’s strong play was also present on the defensive side of the ball. He hounded opposing TSU guards and was active in the passing lanes throughout the night. He ended the outing with 20 points on 6-of-13 shooting.

An interesting note to Wednesday’s game, Sasser did all his scoring without hitting a single 3-pointer. He went 0-for-6 from deep against the Tigers. Sasser also had six assists and five rebounds.

Freshman forward Jarace Walker was the other Houston player that stepped up offensively. The New Freedom, Pennsylvania, native had a stretch towards the middle-to-latter portion of the first half where he scored on four straight possessions, including a slam dunk and a 3-pointer he shot without hesitation.

Walker’s night consisted of more than just scoring. During one play early in the second half, he passed up a decent look at a 3-pointer and instead hit junior forward J’Wan Roberts, who was uncovered underneath the basket and was able to slam it home off Walker’s pass.

Walker had 19 points on 9-of-11 shooting from the field when it was all said and done. He also added six rebounds.

As a team, Houston’s suffocating defensive start to the season continued. The Cougars held the Tigers (1-4) to 18-of-49 shooting from the field, or 36.7%, and forced them to turn the ball over 18 times.

As a part of the Cougar Classic multi-team event, which also included Oral Roberts, there was an All-Tournament team announced after Wednesday’s game.

From Oral Roberts, Kareem Thompson and DeShang Weaver were selected. From TSU, it was Davon Barnes and Zytarious Mortle. From Houston, it was Walker and Tramon Mark. The MVP of the Cougar Classic was Sasser.

Houston takes the court again on Sunday when it travels up to Eugene, Oregon, to play against the Oregon Ducks.

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