No. 3 Houston Cougars basketball rallies late to defeat Wichita State, 70-61

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Romeo Guzman/CSM/Shutterstock (13741742ad) Houston Cougars guard Jamal Shead (1) during 1st half NCAA basketball between the Houston Cougars and UCF Knights at Addition Financial Arena in Orlando, FL NCAA Basketball Houston vs Central Florida, Orlando, USA – 25 Jan 2023

No. 3 Houston Cougars basketball rallies late to defeat Wichita State, 70-61

The Houston Cougars basketball team used a hot final four minutes from the field and stellar defense on Thursday to come back and top Wichita State, 70-61.

It was an uphill battle for No. 3 Houston (21-2, 9-1 American Athletic) all night long against Wichita State. The Cougars fell behind 10-2 early in the first half, which showed how tough of a night it was going to be for UH.

After trailing by as much as seven in the second half, Houston slowly chipped away at Wichita State’s lead and made the plays late to leave Kansas with a victory. Senior big man Reggie Chaney played a key role in UH’s comeback, securing four offensive rebounds in the second half that bought the Cougars extra possessions and led to points.

One example was with an offensive rebound Chaney got at the 4:24 mark in the second half. The center secured the board and then kicked it out to freshman forward Jarace Walker, who buried a corner 3-pointer, which gave Houston a 57-54 lead it never relinquished.

While Chaney fouled out on the next possession, the Cougars caught fire offensively in the final four minutes of the game to get to the finish line.

A driving layup from junior point guard Jamal Shead, a 3-point basket from redshirt sophomore guard Tramon Mark and back-to-back dunks from junior J’Wan Roberts were the final baskets that sealed the deal.

On a night that seemed like Wichita State had an extra bounce in its step, it was Houston that found an extra gear to close the game.

Houston faced a swarming Wichita State team for the entire night that made it difficult for the Cougars for most of the game. The Shockers’ defense held the Cougars to 4-of-16 shooting at one point in the opening period and for the game, held UH to just 25-for-56 shooting from the field.

Despite the offensive woes outside of the game’s final minutes, UH managed to never let Wichita State get too far ahead.

At halftime, Houston was in front 30-29, and a big reason for that was because of point guard Jamal Shead, who had nine points and four assists at the break. He ended the game with 13 points and seven assists.

The Shockers built up their 44-37 lead in the second half with a 10-0 run. The key to that run was Houston’s inability to finish defensive possessions with rebounds.

The Shockers had six of their 10 points during the run come-off second-chance opportunities. At one point, they had rebounded seven of their nine misses in the second half.

Senior guard Marcus Sasser finished the game with 15 points on 4-of-12 shooting. He also had three assists. Mark had 12 points. Walker had 15 points and five rebounds.

Houston will have a quick turnaround following tonight’s game. The Cougars will return home early Friday morning before flying to Philadelphia on Saturday for Sunday’s game, a rematch against Temple.

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