Roberts, No. 3 Houston roll past Tulsa in AAC opener
TULSA, Okla. (AP) – J’Wan Roberts scored 15 points, Tramon Mark and Emanuel Sharp added 14 apiece, and No. 3 Houston defeated Tulsa 89-50 on Wednesday night in the American Athletic Conference opener for both teams.
The Cougars (13-1) missed five of their first seven shots as Tulsa took an early 8-5 lead, but were deadly after that and finished the game shooting 59% (36-of-61).
“Our pitching was good, the ball movement was good and the team is unselfish,” Houston coach Kelvin Sampson said. “We have a lot of guys who can make shots and they don’t care who scores as long as we score.”
Mark left the game with 17:51 left due to an apparent leg injury and did not return.
Bryant Selebangue led Tulsa (4-8) with 13 points.
“We did some things well and I was happy to see us execute those things,” first-year Tulsa coach Eric Konkol said. “But the overall consistency required, not just in trying to score, but I thought their passing, their separation, the way they find shots and take tough shots, it was just a good performance from them. They are a very good team.”
Houston used several big runs to jump out to a 43-26 halftime lead, then opened the second half with a 12-2 burst.
Tulsa had early success using screen-and-rolls to free up Selebangue, who was 5-for-5 in the first half for 10 points. But the Hurricanes finished 19 of 56 (33%) against the nation’s top team in field goal percentage defense and scoring defense.
“You’re not going to win championships with your offense,” Sampson said. “You can have great execution and some nights the ball just won’t go in the basket. But you can always rely on protection and recovery. … This team is better than a month ago and will be better in another month.”
THE BIG PICTURE
Houston was just as impressive offensively, scoring inside, from mid-range and hitting seven 3-pointers while getting nearly every shot he wanted.
Oversized and athletically loaded, Tulsa got a first-hand look at the type of team it would like to become in the future under Konkol.
“I have a lot of respect for what Houston has done and the program they’ve become,” Konkol said. “I admire all the programs that have succeeded. We want to be a tough, bad program like them and we got a lesson tonight in what that looks like.”
Houston: Hosts UCF on Saturday.
Tulsa: At SMU on Sunday.
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