EditorsNote: Adds team records, tweaks in 1st, 2nd, last grafs
Armoni Brooks paced a resurgent second half for the 21st-ranked and unbeaten Houston Cougars in their 60-50 victory over the Utah State Aggies on Thursday at Houston.
Brooks finished 5 for 11 on 3-pointers and paced the Cougars (11-0) with 15 points. Brooks gave the Cougars their first lead with 13:43 left to play with a three, and his trey with 8:46 left capped a 10-0 run that helped extend the Cougars’ home-court winning streak to 24 consecutive games.
Utah State, tops in the Mountain West in scoring offense, mustered only 19 points in the second half. After outrebounding their first 11 opponents this season, the Aggies surrendered a 40-35 advantage to Houston on the glass while losing a 15th consecutive game to a ranked foe.
Utah State (9-3) fell to 16-100 all time against ranked opponents. Senior swingman Dwayne Brown Jr. scored just four of his team-high 19 points in the second half while committing seven turnovers off the bench. Sam Merrill, the Aggies’ leading scorer on the season, shot 2-for-9 and totaled six points. Houston native Quinn Taylor paired 14 points with nine rebounds.
Dejon Jarreau scored 10 points off the bench for Houston, which shot 6-for-17 on threes following the intermission.
The Cougars endured despite a woeful shooting start, held without a field goal until the 13:20 mark of the first half when forward Fabian White Jr. completed a three-point play that cut the deficit to 9-5. Later, as the Aggies extended to their largest advantage at 29-16 with an 11-0 run, the Cougars suffered through another six-minute span without a basket, with Nate Hinton ending that drought by following his offensive rebound with a jumper with 3:33 left in the half.
Houston committed five turnovers during that scoreless stretch and started the game 0 for 6 on threes before Jarreau connected from the right corner with 2:24 remaining. The Cougars shot just 23.3 percent in the first half while mustering only 21 points. But when Houston opened the second half with an 8-0 blitz, the Aggies started struggling on the glass and defending the perimeter.
—Field Level Media