Houston pulled off an upset in the American Athletic Conference Tournament on Thursday as the Cougars held off No. 25 SMU, 68-64, during quarterfinal action in Memphis.
Houston trailed SMU, 38-29, at the half, but came surging back in the second half behind strong performances from TaShawn Thomas, Jherrod Stiggers and L.J. Rose.
RELATED: Is your team in the field of 68? Check our latest Bracketology
Thomas’ crucial blocked shot with under a minute left thwarted the Mustangs’ last-ditch effort to stay in the game when SMU was trailing by three and looking for a quick two to cut the Houston lead to one.
The junior forward finished 14 points, nine rebounds, four blocks and four assists in a tremendous overall effort. Stiggers paced Houston with 19 points while Rose (16 points) and Danual House (11 points) also finished in double-figures for the surging Cougars.
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Houston (17-15) has now won five of its last six games and is a dangerous semifinal team in the AAC Tournament. The No. 6 seed Cougars advance to face the winner of the game between No. 7 seed Rutgers and No. 2 seed Louisville on Friday at 7:00 p.m.
SMU struggled down the stretch, as they shot 40 percent (20-for-50) from the field and missed a couple of free throws that would have cut Houston’s lead in the final minutes. Sophomore center Markus Kennedy (13 points) missed two free throws with the Mustangs trailing by three with 1:37 left and Houston scored on its ensuing offensive possession to effectively put the game away.
Junior center Cannen Cunningham led SMU with 14 points while guard Nick Russell added 10. Sophomore point guard Nic Moore struggled to an o-for-9 shooting day from the field as he finished with eight points and eight assists.
SMU (23-9) has now lost three consecutive games entering the NCAA Tournament as Larry Brown’s team has struggled since a March 1st win over Central Florida.
It was the most anticipated matchup of the summer.
Zion Williamson vs. LaMelo Ball.
People were turned away at the door – and LeBron James reportedly came and went – as the gym reached capacity for SC Supreme’s 104-92 victory over the Big Ballers. That’s Williamson over Ball (LaMelo and LaVar).
The game was mostly spectacle, and you can see it’s top moments right here.
LaMelo Ball vs. Zion Williamson was insane, but it wasn’t quite crazy enough to wake up the sleeping toddler that Williamson’s coach is holding in his arms:
This is peak AAU basketball.
It will never be more AAU than that.
In a showcase game in the adidas Uprising event in Las Vegas on Wednesday night, LaMelo Ball — the youngest member of the Big Baller Brand — faced off with Zion Williamson, who is a force on youtube and a highlight machine.
The crowd was insane for the game:
According to a report from ESPN, there were even concerns about whether or not the game would actually be allowed to be played; the police and fire marshall considered shutting the event down.
Williamson, of course, put on a show in warmups:
At the time of this posting, there were more than 60,000 people watching a livestream of the game on BallIsLife’s facebook page:
(UPDATE: It’s now over 70,000)
The bracket of the 2017 Puerto Rico Tip off was revealed Wednesday, setting up a showdown between a 2016 Final Four participant and the 2016 Big 12 tournament champion.
South Carolina and Iowa State headline the event, which will be played Nov. 16-19, in Fajardo, Puerto Rico.
The Gamecocks are on the top half of the bracket, opening against Illinois State while the Cyclones are on the bottom half, squaring off against Appalachian State.
Boise State vs. UTEP is the other top-half quarterfinal while Tulsa vs. Western Michigan is the other.
The championship game of the Puerto Rico Tip Off on Sunday, Nov. 19.
Just what you wanted to see, a video of former Michigan State star Denzel Valentine throwing an alley-oop off the glass to current Michigan State star Miles Bridges in a Pro-Am in Michigan: