Houston’s LJ Cryer answered Utah’s big rally with a pair of 3-point baskets as the No. 6 Cougars pulled out a 76-66 victory Friday in the semifinals of the Charleston Classic in Charleston, S.C.
Emanuel Sharp had 15 points off the Houston bench, and Cryer and Jamal Shead both racked up 14 points. J’Wan Roberts provided 13 points and 12 rebounds.
Houston (5-0) will meet Dayton, an 88-81 winner against St. John’s in the first semifinal, in Sunday’s tournament championship game. Utah (3-1) takes on St. John’s in the third-place game.
Gabe Madsen tallied 29 points, boosted by eight 3-point baskets, for Utah. Branden Carlson supplied 17 points and eight rebounds.
The Utes rallied from a 14-point, second-half hole to pull even at 56-56 before the Cougars posted the next five points. Utah came back from 12 points in the second half a night earlier to defeat Wake Forest.
Terrance Arceneaux put the Cougars back ahead at 6:55 before Cryer drained two 3s within a 50-second stretch. Soon, Houston stretched its edge to 68-58.
Sharp’s three-point play with 14:02 left completed an 11-2 run that helped the Cougars stay in control with a 50-36 lead.
But Utah had more life, surging to within 56-55 on Madsen’s 3-pointer. That gave him eight points in a span of just more than two minutes. Rollie Worster tied the game with on free throw at the 7:09 mark.
With all the misses, there were plenty of chances for offensive rebounds and both teams were active in that area. The teams combined for 23, with a bulk of those in the first half.
Houston led 39-30 at halftime on the strength of holding the Utes to 33.3 percent shooting from the field. Carlson and Madsen combined for 23 of Utah’s first-half points.
Roberts had 11 points at the break for Utah.
The teams were even on the boards in the opening half, but Utah was dinged by eight turnovers.
Carlson, who poured in a career-high 31 points a night earlier against Wake Forest, scored 10 of Utah’s first 16 points.
–Field Level Media
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