No. 5 Houston Cougars basketball gets back on track with lopsided 74-46 victory over North Carolina A&T

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Kevin M Cox/AP/Shutterstock (13665292h) North Carolina A&T guard Kam Woods (3), right, drives past Houston guard Tramon Mark (12) on his way to score during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, in Houston NC A T Basketball, Houston, United States – 13 Dec 2022

No. 5 Houston Cougars basketball gets back on track with lopsided 74-46 victory over North Carolina A&T

The fifth-ranked Houston Cougars basketball team got back to their winning ways on Tuesday evening inside the Fertitta Center. UH trounced North Carolina A&T 74-46.

Led by sophomore forward Ja’Vier Francis, the Cougars (10-1) crushed the Aggies. The New Orleans native got early minutes against North Carolina A&T, and he made the most out of them. He hurt the Aggies on the glass, getting rebound after rebound throughout the night, and he also had multiple slam dunks and an impressive block in the outing.

Francis ended the game with a 17-point, 15-rebound double-double, the second in his young collegiate career. The first came almost a month ago against Texas Southern. Francis set a new career-high in both points and rebounds against the Aggies.

Houston’s freshmen trio also saw a lot of minutes against North Carolina A&T. Jarace Walker, who has started every game this season, tallied nine points and four rebounds.

Walker had a nice highlight play in transition early in the second half where he cupped the ball and allowed a North Carolina A&T defender to run past him as he went up for the layup through contact for an and-one.

Although Walker missed the free throw, Francis was there to clean it up with the rebound and a put-back to extend UH’s lead to 19 right out of the gates. Houston started the second half on a 12-0 run, which was actually a 19-0 run going back to the first half. It took the Aggies over four minutes of game time to score their first points in the second half.

Freshman Emanuel Sharp was the first guard off the bench for the Cougars. He put in 10 points for UH.

Houston senior guard Marcus Sasser shot the ball better against North Carolina A&T. His goggles era lasted just one game as he did not sport the protective wear on Tuesday. He wore them after he suffered a wound above his left eye that required five stitches against North Florida a week ago.

Sasser had 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the field, including 2-of-5 on 3-pointers against the Aggies. He also had four rebounds, two assists, and one steal.

During a sequence around the 11:30 mark in the second half, Sasser hit one of his 3-pointers off two offensive rebounds on misses from guard Terrance Arceneaux. The first rebound was by guard Tramon Mark, and the second was by forward J’Wan Roberts as the Cougars kept the possession alive and were able to get the ball to Sasser for the long-range basket.

Junior guard Jamal Shead had a nice block on North Carolina A&T freshman guard Tyrese Elliott in the latter portions of the second half. Shead made up for a turnover that set up the fast-break opportunity for Elliot.

Overall, Houston did a better job on defense against North Carolina A&T. After a shaky start to the game, which saw the Aggies take an early 5-3 lead, the Cougars were able to hold their opponent to just 15-of-52 shooting from the field, or 28.8%.

North Carolina A&T sophomore guard Kam Woods had 17 of the Aggies’ 18 points at one point in the first half as they tried to keep pace with the Cougars. Woods ended the game with 26 points.

Houston out-rebounded North Carolina A&T 46-to-26. After turning the ball over four times in less than four minutes to open the game, the Cougars committed 13 turnovers the rest of the contest.

The Houston Cougars basketball team returns to action on Saturday in hostile territory when it travels up Charlottesville, Virginia, to battle the No. 2-ranked Virginia Cavaliers at 1 p.m. on ESPN2.

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