No. 4 Houston holds off late rally to beat No. 21 BYU 75-68

Wed, Jan 24, 2024
NCAAB News (AP)

No. 4 Houston holds off late rally to beat No. 21 BYU 75-68

PROVO, Utah (AP) - L.J. Cryer scored 23 points to lead No. 4 Houston to a 75-68 victory over No. 21 BYU on Tuesday night.

Jamal Shead chipped in 16 points and Damian Dunn added 10 for Houston (17-2, 4-2 Big 12), who scored 17 points off 13 BYU turnovers and finished with a 15-7 advantage in second-chance points.

It was Houston's first Big 12 road victory after close losses at Iowa State and TCU earlier in the month. Cryer played a key role in making it happen by knocking down five 3-pointers and shooting 50% from the field overall.

"I played bad in both of those games, so I knew in order for us to win on the road, I was going to have to step up, other guys were going to have to step up, and I feel like that's what we did," Cryer said.

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Noah Waterman led BYU with 17 points while Jaxson Robinson added 10 points on 4-of-14 shooting. BYU (14-5, 2-4) outscored Houston 28-22 in the paint and 13-7 in fastbreak points but only shot 29% from 3-point range.

BYU trailed most of the second half until tying it at 68 on Waterman's 3-pointer with 2:15 left. Trevin Knell missed a potential go-ahead 3-pointer with 45 seconds remaining.

"We put ourselves in a position where we had a chance and we just couldn't get over the top of it," BYU coach Mark Pope said. "We'll keep battling. We have a really good team and a good group in this locker room."

Cryer and Shead combined to make six free throws in the final minute to help Houston stave off the comeback. Houston did not score any baskets over the final four minutes.

"We're getting better at the free throw line," Shead said. "We make them when we need them. I think that's really big."

BYU made six straight baskets to fuel a 14-4 run midway through the first half. Richie Saunders capped the run by powering to the rim for a layup for a 25-20 lead.

Houston held BYU to a single basket over the final 4 1/2 minutes of the first half and took a 41-34 halftime lead. Shead bookended an 11-2 run with a go-ahead 3-pointer and a layup to put Houston in front.

Houston pushed the lead to double digits after halftime. After Knell capped a 9-0 run with a 3-pointer to bring BYU within three, Houston countered with a 10-0 spurt punctuated by a jumper from Dunn to extend its lead to 56-43. BYU missed five straight shots and committed four turnovers over a 3 1/2-minute stretch to open a door for Houston to take control.

BYU got back in the game behind a 12-2 run and cut the deficit to 61-58 on a reverse layup from Robinson.

"It tested our resolve," Houston coach Kelvin Sampson said. "You got to be resilient playing here because they're going to go on runs."

BIG PICTURE

Houston became the first Big 12 team to lead BYU at halftime this season by crashing the glass for offensive rebounds and pressuring passing lanes to force turnovers.

BYU found success in attacking the rim but settled for deep 3-pointers on far too many possessions.

UP NEXT

Houston hosts Kansas State on Saturday.

BYU hosts Texas on Saturday.

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AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball

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