No. 3 Houston will look to continue its dominating play on both ends of the court when it hosts Oral Roberts on Monday.
The Cougars (2-0) are coming off an 81-55 win over St. Joseph’s on Friday in the Veterans Classic at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., after opening the season with an 83-36 victory over Northern Colorado last Monday.
Oral Roberts (1-1) knocked off visiting John Brown University, an NAIA school, 95-62 on Friday, rebounding from its season-opening 78-70 loss at Saint Mary’s.
For Houston, five-star freshman forward Jarace Walker had 23 points and eight rebounds, and J’Wan Roberts added 19 points and 12 rebounds. Tramon Mark contributed 12 points and six boards while preseason All-America pick Marcus Sasser had seven points on 2-of-9 shooting.
“(Jarace) had 23 points tonight,” Houston coach Kelvin Sampson said. “That’s great. I don’t think anybody in our program is going to ask for his autograph because of that. He had eight rebounds, but how about getting 18 rebounds? Because he’s capable. We’re just going to keep challenging our guys. I don’t want them to ever be satisfied.”
Houston led by 20 points at halftime and by as many as 26 in the second half.
The Cougars shot 33 for 65 (50.8 percent) from the field, including 5 for 26 (19.2 percent) from deep. Houston outscored the Hawks 50-18 in the paint and converted 16 turnovers into 17 points.
Through two games in which the Cougars have yet to trail, Walker is averaging 15.5 points and 10.0 rebounds, while Roberts is averaging 15.5 points and 9.0 rebounds. Sasser is averaging 14.0 points and 4.0 assists, with Mark chipping in 9.0 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Jamal Shead is averaging 8.5 assists and 6.5 points.
Houston has its highest ranking since also being slotted at No. 2 in the Associated Press during the 1983-84 season, which ended with the Cougars losing to Georgetown in the national championship game.
Oral Roberts led 39-35 at halftime before outscoring John Brown 56-27 in the second half.
All five Golden Eagles starters scored in double figures, led by Connor Vanover with 19 points, eight rebounds and eight blocks, and Issac McBride with 19 points, three rebounds and three assists. Max Abmas had 18 points, nine rebounds and four assists, while Carlos Jurgens had 13 points and five assists and Kareem Thompson had 11 points and five rebounds.
Oral Roberts shot 35 for 74 (47.3 percent) from the field, including 15 for 40 (37.5 percent) from beyond the arc. Oral Roberts also blocked 12 shots and forced 16 turnovers.
Oral Roberts, which tied for third in the Summit League last year, was picked to win it this season in the preseason poll.
“These guys have a lot of years, so there’s a continuity involved and an expectation involved that makes it exciting,” Oral Roberts coach Paul Mills said.
–Field Level Media