PHILADELPHIA — — Kelvin Sampson watched his Houston staff get one more rout and found “two or three areas” of needed advancement. Cleanse all those up and an additional range comes into focus for the Cougars: a prospective No. 1 seed in the NCAA Match.
“If we get greater in the spots we have to have to be excellent at,” Houston’s coach stated, “all that things normally takes care of alone.”
Marcus Sasser and Quentin Grimes each and every scored 15 points and No. 8 Houston rolled to its sixth consecutive victory, 68-51 in excess of Temple on Saturday.
The Cougars (13-1, 8-1 American Athletic Meeting) also beat the Owls on Dec. 22 and finished the time sweep. Houston received its sixth video game in a row by double figures and could operate the table in a convention with no an additional ranked workforce.
How about a top spot in March?
“I do not imagine which is even been in my mindset,” Sampson stated.
Grimes and Sasser set the concept in the forefront of any fan watching, as they strike consecutive early 3s to make a 19-issue guide en route to earn a swiftly scheduled sport since of COVID-19 concerns. This sport was initially scheduled for Feb. 8, but when Houston’s activity with Cincinnati was postponed, Temple and Houston got bumped up to fill the CBS spot. CBS broadcast a video game from the Liacouras Centre for just the next time in software historical past — and the Owls ended up not completely ready for the highlight.
“We played nowhere around what we are capable of taking part in like,” mentor Aaron McKie reported. “I assumed we ended up all set to compete in opposition to these men. You do not have to play a fantastic recreation … but not to be in a position to make pictures, not to be equipped to make totally free throws, which is a hard recipe to check out and defeat a major-10 crew.”
The Owls, though, have been just grateful to get a prospect to hit the courtroom, considering Houston performed its 14th match even though Temple (3-4, 2-4) performed only its seventh. So it goes this time, as university basketball tries to navigate schedules upended by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Owls experienced matches of superior ball motion but could not end at the rim and hit just about nothing at all from exterior. They made just 9 of 28 photographs (a single 3-pointer) in the to start with 50 percent as Houston grabbed a 36-21 guide.
“To hold a workforce to 21 details in their gym is not easy to do,” Sampson said.
Under Sampson, the Cougars again acquired reliable video games out of possibly the very best backcourt in the AAC in Grimes (17.8 points) and Sasser (16.5). They every single hit a few 3s and Grimes had 9 rebounds. The Cougars, a 12-position beloved, produced 9 of 20 3-tips (45%). Their only loss of the time arrived when they missed 17 of 21 3s towards Tulsa, and when they are connecting from deep, they’re as tough to defeat as any group.
The Cougars keep profitable even as Caleb Mills, the preseason AAC participant of the calendar year, determined to enter the transfer portal previously this thirty day period, leaving them with out their major scorer from final year. Houston reached as significant as No. 5 in the AP Top 25 and stay the favorite in the AAC.
Jake Forrester led Temple with 15 factors and Khalif Fight had 14. The Owls had received back again-to-back video games in McKie’s next time as they started off to get into a rhythm subsequent the fits and begins of postponements.
But Houston wiped out the good inner thoughts.
Justin Gorham strike a 3 off the crack for Houston, fell into his bench and was served up by his teammates, who stood, clapped and cheered the total video game. Gorham, who experienced 14 details and 10 rebounds, experienced a rim-shaking slam off the crack to make it 62-41.
“I try out and be the tricky dude,” Gorham mentioned. “We enjoy challenging, protect and rebound.”
Houston: The Cougars led the nation in offensive rebounding proportion and grabbed 7 of them (37 in general).
Temple: The Owls have defeated a rated team for 13 consecutive seasons. They conquer No. 16 Wichita Condition previous period, but there are no at present rated teams left on the plan, so that streak is in jeopardy.
“It’s the product that we’re striving to make,” McKie explained. “Playing faster, taking part in with speed, currently being bodily, rebounding everything. Just bringing that intimidation issue into video games right before you even begin.”
Sampson gave an appreciative shoutout to McKie for his adaptability with the plan. Sampson claimed he put in numerous hrs right before tipoff striving to piece collectively a program that demands new dates for postponements, leaving it unsure if AAC groups can play 20 convention game titles.
“It’s likely to call for sacrifice,” Sampson mentioned. “You have to help another person. I really don’t head doing it as prolonged as it doesn’t set us in a tough place. My initially duty is to look after my program.”
Houston performs Thursday at Tulane.
The Owls host Tulsa on Tuesday.