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Feb 10, 2024 6:38 pm

J’Wan Roberts shines as No. 5 Houston slides past Cincinnati

Houston, Cincinnati

J’Wan Roberts finished with 20 points and eight rebounds and Jamal Shead added 16 points to rally No. 5 Houston past host Cincinnati 67-62 on Saturday in a Big 12 contest.

The Cougars (21-3, 8-3 Big 12) dominated in the paint, outscoring the Bearcats, 38-22.

Dan Skillings Jr. had 13 points and John Newman III chipped in with 10 points and 10 rebounds for Cincinnati (15-8, 4-6), which couldn’t find a way to hold onto a seven-point lead early in the second half.

Trailing 58-48 with 3:51 left, Simas Lukosius drained a trey that started Cincinnati on a 7-0 spurt in 45 seconds that brought the Bearcats within 58-55 with 2:36 left.

Two free throws from Jamille Reynolds with 1:41 left made it a two-point game at 61-59. LJ Cryer hit a runner with 1:13 left and Ja’Vier Francis slammed home a miss with 40 seconds left for a 65-59 Houston lead.

The Cougars were dominating the Bearcats for most of the first half. And when they weren’t outplaying the Bearcats, they were getting remarkably fortunate breaks.

With the shot clock winding down, Cryer drove the lane and lost his footing with the dribble. He pushed the ball out to the corner to Shead, who swished a rushed three as the buzzer went off for a 23-10 lead with 8:25 left in the first half.

Houston’s greatest area of dominance in the opening 10 minutes of the game came on the boards. It grabbed the game’s first eight rebounds and held a 15-4 advantage at one point, including 5-0 on the offensive glass.

With Houston leading 25-15, Cincinnati got a massive boost when Skillings missed a pull-up three and Reynolds threw down the putback for a thunderous dunk that electrified the sellout crowd and sparked a 19-4 Cincinnati run to end the half.

Helping Cincinnati’s cause was Houston’s ice-cold shooting, including a stretch of 12 straight misses from the field and 18 of 20 shots in one stretch before a Roberts layup with three seconds left in the half to make it 32-29 Cincinnati at the break.

The Bearcats used the first half momentum to build a 38-31 lead on a Newman layup with 17:19 left.

Jizzle James also had 10 points for Cincinnati.

–Field Level Media

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