Jamal Shead’s buzzer-beater lifts No. 1 Houston Cougars basketball past Memphis

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Karen Pulfer Focht/AP/Shutterstock (13793627d) Houston Marcus Sasser (0) looks to pass as Memphis Kendric Davis (3) defends in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, in Memphis, Tenn Houston Basketball, Memphis, United States – 05 Mar 2023

Jamal Shead’s buzzer-beater lifts No. 1 Houston Cougars basketball past Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — No. 1 Houston Cougars basketball was put to the test on Sunday afternoon inside FedEx Forum. It was Jamal Shead who walked away as the hero, hitting the buzzer-beating pull-up jumper to lift UH past Memphis, 67-65.

Before the big shot, UH used a 10-0 run, which included holding Memphis scoreless for 5:02 of game action, to help claw past the Tigers.

The Memphis Tigers used a red-hot second half to overcome a 12-point deficit and give UH problems. After not hitting a single 3-point basket in the first half, Memphis shot lights out from behind the arc. The Tigers went 6-of-11 from distance, including hitting four straight 3-pointers to open the second period.

Houston on the other hand, struggled to score in the second period. The Cougars opened the second half just 4-of-13 from the field before freshman forward Jarace Walker hit a 3-pointer that hit the front rim before bouncing up and into the basket to make it 56-54 with under six minutes left in regulation.

With the Cougars’ offense struggling, UH’s defense stiffened to stay within striking distance. The Tigers never led by more than five points. Junior point guard Jamal Shead hit a layup to tie the game at 56, and then senior guard Marcus Sasser hit a 3-pointer on a signature pull-up in transition to make 59-56.

When it was all said and done, UH used the 10-0 run to get back into the driver’s seat in the game. Not to be outdone, however, the Tigers tied the game at 63 on a 3-point basket from Kendric Davis. It was a floater by Shead that made it 65-63. A Davis layup tied the game again at 65.

The Houston Cougars first built its double-digit lead by swarming around on both ends of the court. UH found success on offense with ball movement and tempo.

Memphis’ weakness on defense came from getting the ball into the paint. Whether through penetration or passes, the Cougars hurt the Tigers by finding open players for 3-pointers.

The biggest 3-point basket came early in the first half. Following a defensive stop and rebound from freshman forward Jarace Walker, the ball got into the hands of junior point guard Jamal Shead.

He pushed the pace and found a trailing senior guard Marcus Sasser for a signature pull-up 3-pointer. With the make, Sasser became the player with the most 3-point baskets made in program history.

Houston was led by Shead and Mark, who both had 16 points. Sasser had 13 and Walker had 10 points.

With the regular season in the rearview mirror, Houston now turns its attention to the AAC tournament in Fort Worth. As the No. 1 seed in the tournament, the Cougars will not play until Friday afternoon at Dickies Arena.

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