On the 50th anniversary of Houston’s seminal win over UCLA in the Astrodome, the current Cougars gave a new generation of fans an upset to remember.
Rob Gray scored a game-high 24 points as Houston earned revenge on No. 7 Wichita State with a 73-59 American Athletic Conference victory at Texas Southern’s H&PE Center in Houston.
In the teams’ first meeting earlier this month, the Shockers (15-4, 5-2) rolled up 53 first-half points en route to a comfortable win in Wichita. This time, the Cougars (15-4, 5-2) held them to 26 in the opening 20 minutes and never let them closer than six points in the second half.
Gray led the charge, going 10 of 21 from the field and punctuating the result with an emphatic transition dunk with 3:48 left that gave Houston a 67-51 advantage. Corey Davis added 17 and Devin Davis chipped in 12 points as the Cougars improved to 9-0 in their temporary home. Their on-campus arena is undergoing a $60 million renovation and will re-open next season.
Shaquille Morris tallied 12 points for Wichita State, which lost consecutive conference games for the first time since the 2012-13 season, when it played in the Missouri Valley Conference. The result also ended the Shockers’ 11-game road winning streak, which was tied for the longest in Division I.
Houston set an immediate tone. After Morris started the scoring with a free throw 26 seconds into the game, the Cougars promptly rattled off eight straight points. Wichita State was in chase mode from that point on and simply never had the firepower to overtake an inspired opponent.
A free throw by Nura Zanna gave Houston its first double-figure lead at 17-7 with 9:36 left in the half. The teams went back-and-forth for the half’s remainder, and the Cougars owned a 35-26 margin at intermission.
The Shockers trailed by 14 points early in the second half, but ripped off eight unanswered points to close within 42-36 at the 15:56 mark on Rashard Kelly’s dunk. But Houston quickly upped the lead to 14 and never really looked back.
—Field Level Media