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No. 21 Houston leads throughout in 69-58 win at SMU

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DALLAS — Corey Davis Jr. scored 20 points and Armoni Brooks added 19 with five 3-pointers as No. 21 Houston led throughout in a 69-58 win at SMU on Wednesday night.

Davis hit a 3-pointer for the game’s first points, and the Cougars (17-1, 4-1 American Athletic Conference) jumped out to a 12-4 lead after Brooks made three early 3s. Houston led 31-22 at halftime after Brooks buried a long straightaway 3 just before the break.

Jimmy Whitt Jr. had 20 points on 9-of-11 shooting for SMU (11-6, 3-2), which played most of the game without senior guard Jarrey Foster (sprained left knee).

Houston coach Kelvin Sampson got his 600th career win in 30 seasons, and his 100th victory in five seasons with the Cougars. Sampson, who has a 600-319 overall record, previously coached at Indiana, Oklahoma, Washington State and Montana Tech.

Davis scored 15 points in the second half, when Houston built a 17-point lead. The Mustangs cut the deficit to nine before Houston worked the shot clock down and Brooks hit a long 3 from the left wing to make it 67-55 with 1:47 left.

Fabian White Jr. added 11 points for Houston.

Isiaha Mike had 15 points for SMU and Jahmal McMurray scored 11. Ethan Chargois had a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds.

BIG PICTURE

Houston: The Cougars won for the second year in a row at SMU, where the Mustangs are 46-9 under coach Tim Jankovich the past four seasons. Houston has bounced back nicely from a loss last week at Temple that ended its 15-0 start, winning at home over Wichita State on Saturday before the solid road win at Moody Coliseum.

SMU: The Mustangs had won nine of their previous 11 games. … Foster played only four minutes before leaving the game. He missed the second half of last season and the first six games this season after an ACL injury. Jankovich said Foster tweaked his knee and will have tests on Thursday. He is the only scholarship player who has played at SMU more than one season.

UP NEXT

Houston is in a stretch with three of four games on the road. The Cougars play Saturday at UCF.

SMU plays at Memphis on Saturday, then has a week between games before playing again the following Saturday at home against Tulane.

Wednesday’s Things to Know: Bizarre double ejection in UConn/Tulsa; Iowa State, Kansas State earn huge Big 12 wins

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After Tuesday night’s craziness in college hoops, things were bound to slow down on a Wednesday that only featured a few intriguing conference games. Of course, things got weird with a double head-coach ejection in the American while the Big 12 had some enticing contests.

UCONN’S DAN HURLEY AND TULSA’S FRANK HAITH HIT WITH DOUBLE DOUBLE-TECHNICALS. YOU READ THAT RIGHT. 

Strange ejections went down in the American on Wednesday night when UConn head Dan Hurley and Tulsa’s Frank Haith were both kicked out — as they were trying to shake hands to make amends for an argument. The bizarre incident occured one day after Cincinnati head coach Mick Cronin was ejected, as the American has a lot of incidents like this being talked about lately.

Tulsa ended up holding on for the close 89-83 win as Jeriah Horne dropped 27 points.

Both head coaches released statements after the game, as well as the officials, as this will surely be talked about among sports talking heads for all of Thursday.

IOWA STATE WIN AT No. 8 TEXAS TECH AFTER LOSING TWO STRAIGHT

After dropping two straight games in which they had a chance to win late, a young Iowa State team showed rapid maturation in an important 68-64 win over No. 8 Texas Tech.

Falling to Baylor and Kansas State, the Cyclones avenged those losses and even held everything together once Texas Tech made a late rally. Getting multiple important stops and doing just enough offensively to finish the job, this is a great job by Iowa State to win an important Big 12 road game while staying right in the mix of a very crowded Big 12 race.

Now that unbeaten Texas Tech has fallen, every team in the Big 12 has lost at least one game in conference play as a deep conference looks like it’s going to be a bloodbath once again.

KANSAS STATE BLOWS OUT No. 20 OKLAHOMA IN NORMAN

Perhaps more than any other team going on Wednesday night, Kansas State needed a win to help its cause. With the Wildcats right on the bubble for a handful of NCAA tournament projections, an opportunity for a road win against another ranked team would be huge.

After knocking off Iowa State on the road the last game, Kansas State earned its second straight Big 12 road win over a ranked team with a convincing 74-61 win over the Sooners. The back-to-back road wins are the first true road wins of the season for the Wildcats — who appear to be gaining confidence.

Senior guard Barry Brown Jr. poured in 25 points — his third straight outing of at least 23 points — to pace the Kansas State offense as he’s looked like a consistent go-to scorer in recent wins.

UConn’s Hurley, Tulsa’s Haith ejected after confrontation ‘escalated by the officials’

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The UConn and Tulsa game turned into a mess on Wednesday night after a bizarre incident in which both head coaches, UConn’s Dan Hurley and Tulsa’s Frank Haith, were ejected after a pair of double technicals were issued..

As seen in the video below, the two coaches got into a verbal argument over a foul call. That resulted in the duo both receiving a technical foul. Then things got strange. As Hurley and Haith appeared to be mending fences with a handshake with official Pat Adams seemingly in control of the situation, another official — Marques Pettigrew — cam in from the other side of the floor and each coach received a second technical foul. It is the first double head coaching ejection in the American.

“I’ve never seen anything like that,” Hurley told reporters after the game. “It was surreal, I would say.

“Watch what happened on TV. It’s very clear. I was talking to the official, and then I was engaged by someone on the other sideline. They said my name, in my direction, so I turned and looked [with] kind of a look of surprise.

“I’ve known Frank for a very long time — probably 15, 18, 20 years, back to when I was a high school coach and he recruited my players. I feel as though that situation escalated because of the officials and the way they handled the situation.”

Haith agreed.

“I don’t feel like it was to that level,” he said. “There was competitive conversation. I didn’t know the both of us got a first technical. I would have hoped it would have been handled a lot differently.”

“That was embarrassing,” Hurley added. “It’s embarrassing for the conference, for both me and Frank, and on the heels of last night, it’s not a good look for our league. It’s just very disappointing the way that thing was handled.”

This comes on the heels of Cincinnati head coach Mick Cronin getting ejected on Tuesday night as the conference appears to be on a hot streak with tossing coaches. Cronin acknowledged that he had never been ejected from a game before.

It is the second time that Hurley has been ejected in his first season at UConn. He was also tossed in a loss to Iowa in Madison Square Garden earlier this season.

Temple ends No. 17 Houston’s undefeated season on controversial charge call

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College basketball is down to two undefeated teams as Temple knocked off No. 17 Houston with a controversial 73-69 American Athletic Conference win on Wednesday night.

With the Cougars trailing by two points with possession and under 10 seconds left, an offensive foul was called on Houston’s Corey Davis Jr. as he made the driving potential game-tying bucket with time expiring. While the call appeared to be a correct one, it’s a tough call to swallow to end an undefeated season.

You make the call: charge or not?

Michigan and Virginia are the only two unbeaten teams in college basketball entering Wednesday’s second session of games following Houston’s loss.

Besides for the controversial call at the end, Temple had control of most of this conference game on Wednesday night — earning a huge win for their postseason cause in the process. The Owls (12-3, 2-1) had a solid night from the trio of Quinton Rose (22 points), Nate Pierre-Louis (16 points) and Shizz Alston Jr. (12 points) as they looked like a tough contender in the American — and for a potential tournament bid.

Houston crawled back thanks to great stretches from its defense as the offense struggled with consistency. The interior play of big man Breaon Brady (19 points) was a bright spot for the Cougars, as his post touches generated some of the only offense Houston could count on.

While Houston’s undefeated season ending is going to hurt, they should still be in solid position to make the NCAA tournament. This is a road loss to a tough conference opponent and Temple now stands to benefit from knocking off the league’s elite team. The Owls still have more work to do to feel secure about their postseason standing, but this is the type of win you could center a profile around as the Cougars have the chance to end the season as a top-25 team.

Things just got a little bit more interesting with regard to the American and postseason spots — especially if leagues like the Pac-12 don’t have a lot of bids to offer.

Davis scores 21 points, No. 19 Houston beats Tulsa 74-56

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HOUSTON — Corey Davis Jr. scored 21 points and hit six 3-pointers and No. 19 Houston remained undefeated, beating Tulsa 74-56 on Wednesday night in the American Athletic Conference opener for both teams.

Houston (14-0) extended the longest home winning streak in the nation to 27 games.

Nate Hinton had 13 points and eight rebounds, and Galen Robinson Jr. added 10 points for Houston. The Cougars shot only 37 percent, but outrebounded Tulsa 52-40, including 16-9 on the offensive glass, and had an 18-7 edge in second-chance points.

Martins Igbanu had 18 points and eight rebounds, and Daquan Jeffries added 10 points and six rebounds for Tulsa (10-4). The Golden Hurricane shot 31 percent from the field, and had their five-game winning streak snapped.

Houston missed its first 10 field goals before Robinson’ two free throws and a layup by Brison Gresham with 14 minutes left in the first half cut Tulsa’s lead to 6-4. The Cougars heated up from there, opening a 26-16 lead on Armoni Brooks’ 3-pointer that capped a 10-2 run. Houston led 36-25 at the half, making 11 of its last 24 shots.

Tulsa could never get closer than nine in the second half, with Houston putting it out of reach with a 15-6, capped by DeJon Jarreau’ layup with 6 1/2 minutes left that upped it to 63-45. Davis had six to lead the run.

HOLGORSEN IN THE HOUSE

New Houston football coach Dana Holgorsen sat courtside next to Tilman Fertitta, the Houston Rockets owner and University of Houston system Board of Regents chairman, and University of Houston President Renu Khator. Holgorsen, who will be formally introduced as the head coach Thursday, signed two footballs, throwing one into the student section.

BIG PICTURE

Tulsa: The Golden Hurricane had a chance to open a large lead early, but they hit two of their first eight field goals and allowed Houston to hang around. Tulsa shot 5 of 18 on 3-pointers. The Golden Hurricane had no points off 10 Houston turnovers.

Houston: The Cougars had another slow start, their fourth in the last five games, but the defense continues to keep them in games until the offense picks up. Houston forced 12 turnovers, turning them into 12 points. Houston had 18 assists on 25 field goals.

UP NEXT

Tulsa: Hosts South Florida on Saturday.

Houston: Hosts Memphis on Sunday.

Three Takeaways from Ohio State’s road win over Cincinnati

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Cincinnati and Ohio State renewed a dormant in-state rivalry on Wednesday night with the Buckeyes claiming the 64-56 win in the season opener for both teams. The all-Ohio matchup marked the first time these two programs played in the regular season since 1920 as the Bearcats opened their newly-renovated Fifth Third Arena with a rock fight.

Here are three takeaways from this one.

1. Balance is the key for Ohio State’s offense 

Last season saw Ohio State rely heavily on Big Ten Player of the Year Keita Bates-Diop. One of the breakout performers in all of college hoops a year ago, Bates-Diop moved on to the NBA after putting up 19.8 points per game.

So, for this season, Ohio State has to reconfigure its offense by coming with a balanced approach. That seemed to work well enough for the Buckeyes against Cincinnati on Wednesday. Working the ball inside to sophomore Kaleb Wesson (15 points, seven rebounds) and letting him go to work, the 6-foot-9 wide-bodied big man patiently went to work, or kicked the ball out to open cutters or shooters. At 270 pounds, Wesson is a tough one-on-one cover for nearly anyone in college basketball on the interior and his passing ability is solid.

That led to a lot of decent looks for Ohio State’s offense as four players finished in double-figures. Senior point guard C.J. Jackson (13 points) didn’t have his finest game on offense, but he made some key drives down the stretch to force pressure on an aggressive Cincinnati defense — including a dagger lay-up to make it a six-point game with 30 seconds left. Freshman Luther Muhammad, known more for his on-ball defensive prowess than his offense, chipped in 11 points as he made some tough buckets in the second half. And sophomore forward Kyle Young played a key glue-guy role as his ability to hit the offensive glass, or get fouled, led to him finishing with 10 points.

Ohio State doesn’t have a go-to player. Nobody on this roster is going to erupt for huge scoring games. But as long as the Buckeyes understand that the offense needs to run through Wesson on the inside then they have a lot of dangerous complementary pieces who can make opposing defenses pay.

2. Cincinnati desperately needs to find an offensive identity

The backbone of Cincinnati’s program identity has always been rugged defense and physicality. This season will be no different. But the reason Cincinnati was able to elevate into a 30-win team and a No. 2 seed in last season’s NCAA tournament was an improved offense with plenty of capable options.

Now that Jacob Evans, Gary Clark and Kyle Washington have all moved on, however, the Cincinnati offense desperately needs to find a new identity. Or, at the very least, a consistent spark plug who can become a go-to player at the end of the shot clock.

The first half saw Cincinnati shoot an ugly 4-for-29 (13 percent) from the field and 2-for-12 (16 percent) from three-point range as a disjointed half-court offense didn’t show any semblance of continuity. While Cincinnati could go inside-out to Clark and Washington a season ago, they didn’t work nearly hard enough to work the ball inside to new frontcourt starters Nysier Brooks (seven points) and Tre Scott (eight points).

Second-half offense wasn’t much better for the Bearcats, as they continually abandoned post touches in favor of long, contested jumpers and early-shot-clock threes. Much of this falls on a veteran Cincinnati backcourt that played inexcusably bad. Senior guards Justin Jenifer (five points, five assists) and Cane Broome (five points) combined to shoot 3-for-18 from the floor on Wednesday night as neither guard did an effective job of scoring or running an offense.

A solid complimentary double-figure scorer a season ago, junior wing Jarron Cumberland (22 points, all in the second half) struggled to create his own offense until a run in the second half as he was harassed by Buckeye defenders. Battling foul trouble in the first half that might have thrown him off, Cumberland finally started to get hot towards the end of the game when he was allowed to be the natural catch-and-shoot option that he needs to be. Cumberland’s not a guy who can blow by defenders by putting it on the floor. He ideally needs a setup guy to be at his best.

Cincinnati showed that its defense and toughness is still there. But the team’s offense is still a gigantic work-in-progress. Improvement starts with the upperclass perimeter group that needs to force the ball inside more often to help establish more rhythm in the half-court offense. That should lead to a lot more consistent open looks for Cumberland on catch-and-shoot opportunities.

3. Ohio State will be an intriguing team in a wide-open Big Ten

The Big Ten race appears to be wide open this season as there isn’t a perceived dominant team heading into 2018-19. Michigan State, Michigan, Indiana and Purdue all have a chance to be consistent top-25 teams. None of them are overwhelming on paper though. Second-tier Big Ten teams (based on preseason hype) like Maryland, Wisconsin, Iowa and Penn State all have major question marks heading into the season.

At least we now know that Ohio State won’t be an easy out for any team in the Big Ten this season.

The Buckeyes just scored the early-season’s most impressive true road victory by going into a hostile in-state environment and taking Cincinnati’s best punch when the Bearcats rallied late in the second half. This is the type of early-season road win that should give Ohio State a ton of confidence, as they’re a young team playing with a lot of new pieces.

While Ohio State will still have plenty of ups-and-downs like any young team, it remains a fact that Chris Holtmann is one of the very best coaches in college basketball. This Buckeye team should be prepared to play on most nights this season. It’ll be fascinating to see what their eventual ceiling might be once they start to get comfortable playing with each other.