Jarace Walker poured in 25 points and No. 3 Houston staged a colossal rally late in the second half to defeat visiting Cincinnati 75-69 on Saturday afternoon in American Athletic Conference play.
The Cougars (20-2, 8-1 AAC) outscored the Bearcats (14-8, 5-4) by a 21-7 margin over the final nine-plus minutes to win for the 11th time in their past 12 games. Jamal Shead hit a go-ahead jumper with 47 seconds left before sinking a pair of free throws to seal the victory.
Walker sank 10 of 14 shots and added seven rebounds for Houston, which went 30-for-53 (56.6 percent) from the field. J’Wan Roberts added 14 points, while Shead finished with 13.
Landers Nolley II paced Cincinnati with 24 points and six rebounds on 9-of-14 shooting, including 6-for-10 from deep. Viktor Lakhin contributed 15 points and David DeJulius supplied 14 along with nine assists.
The Bearcats made 27 of 61 shots (44.3 percent) from the floor but made just 4 of 7 free throws.
After Houston trailed by 11 with 11:28 remaining, Shead scored five straight points to ignite a 13-2 surge that evened things at 62. Walker scored in the paint with 3:51 left to put the Cougars up 66-64 — their first lead since the game’s opening minutes.
A dunk from Lakhin and a triple from DeJulius later tied things at 69-all ahead of Shead’s late heroics.
Nolley made four 3-pointers and had 14 points in the first half to send the Bearcats into the break with a 43-36 edge.
Houston had pulled within four after Walker hit a trey and threw down an alley-oop dunk, but Mika Adams-Woods drilled a half-court heave at the buzzer to forge the seven-point advantage. Walker led the Cougars with 12 points through the first 20 minutes of action.
Cincinnati came roaring out of the gates, going a perfect 4-for-4 from beyond the arc during a 16-0 run that gave the Bearcats a 19-6 lead with 13:08 left in the first half. The 13-point deficit marked Houston’s largest of the season.
–Field Level Media