Houston Cougars basketball catches fire from long-range in blowout win over McNeese

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Michael Wyke/AP/Shutterstock (13681105b) Houston guard Emanuel Sharp, left, falls backward on a rebound past McNeese State forward Roberts Berze, rear, and Houston forward Ja’Vier Francis (5) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, in Houston McNeese Basketball, Houston, United States – 21 Dec 2022

Houston Cougars basketball catches fire from long-range in blowout win over McNeese

The Houston Cougars basketball team ended its nonconference portion of the 2022-23 regular season schedule with a rout of McNeese on Wednesday night. UH dominated the Cowboys 83-44.

Houston (12-1) got red-hot from 3-point range to close out the first half, which propelled it to the win. The Cougars hit eight 3-pointers against the Cowboys in the final eight minutes of the opening period.

Freshman Emanuel Sharp, who has now been the first guard off the bench for Houston in the last three games, was the lead catalyst behind the sharpshooting from the Cougars. By halftime, he had hit five 3-point field goals on seven attempts to get up to 15 points, both of which were career highs for the Tampa, Florida, native.

Sharp hit his last 3-pointer of the period as time expired on a pass from freshman forward Jarace Walker that sent Houston to halftime with a 42-19 lead.

Sharp ended the game with 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the field. Every single shot he took was a 3-point attempt. He left the game briefly in the second half after being looked at by head athletic trainer John Houston. Sharp appeared to be limping briefly but later returned to the game.

Houston’s hot shooting only continued in the second half. A hook shot in the post from redshirt junior forward J’Wan Roberts and a 3-pointer from guard Marcus Sasser were the fuel behind the Cougars’ first five points in the new period.

Sasser racked up 17 points. He also did much damage against the Cowboys from behind the arc, hitting five 3-pointers against McNeese. The Dallas native added four rebounds and two assists on a night he also had four turnovers.

Sophomore forward Ja’Vier Francis also put together a strong performance against the Cowboys. He garnered his third-career double-double with 23 points, a career-high, and 13 rebounds.

Houston held McNeese to 18-of-49 shooting from the field. The Cougars went on a 20-2 run for over eight minutes of game action in the first half to build a 27-9 lead. Houston went on a 31-5 run for a 12:30 span in the second half as it built a 73-24 cushion. The Cowboys turned the ball over 16 times against UH on Wednesday night.

The Cougars ended the game shooting 32-of-61 from the field, which included 14-of-33 on 3-pointers.

The Houston Cougars basketball team next takes the court on Dec. 28 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, against the Golden Hurricane. It will be the first outing in the American Athletic Conference portion of the schedule for UH.

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