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L.J. Cryer hits milestone as No. 3 Houston blitzes Penn

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Senior guard L.J. Cryer surpassed 1,000 career points while freshman forward Joseph Tugler posted a career-high 13 points as third-ranked Houston completed an unbeaten nonconference slate with an 81-42 home victory over Penn on Saturday.

Cryer, a Baylor transfer who needed eight points to reach the milestone, scored 12 of his 16 points in the first half. Tugler added seven rebounds to his ledger after starting in place of J’Wan Roberts, who aggravated a knee injury last week against Texas State.

Jamal Shead had 14 points and four assists for the Cougars, who will play host to their Big 12 opener against West Virginia on Jan. 6.

Befitting its reputation, Houston (13-0) dominated with defense.

Tyler Perkins led the Quakers (8-6) with 10 points. Penn finished with 22 turnovers and shot 31.1 percent from the field.

Penn started the game 0-for-6 from the floor with seven turnovers and trailed 18-0 before Sam Brown sank a 3-pointer at the 10:59 mark of the first half. Brown added another trey as the Quakers cut the deficit to 12 points while the Cougars missed 6 of 7 shots, but that rally was short-lived as Houston turned in another double-digit scoring run to reclaim control.

The Cougars turned an 11-0 run into a bloated 29-6 advantage. Emanuel Sharp (12 points) started the surge with a 3-pointer and a fastbreak layup before Tugler capped the uprising with a pair of layups, the first off a Quakers turnover and the second following an offensive rebound.

Penn, which lost its leading scorer, Clark Slajchert, to a first-half ankle injury, struggled mightily before the intermission. The Quakers shot 21.7 percent in the first half, when they were 1-for-7 inside the arc. That lone field goal came from Nick Spinoso after he corralled his shot blocked by Tugler and scored with 49 seconds left before the break.

The Quakers trailed 39-17 at halftime, having committed 13 turnovers that the Cougars turned into a dozen points.

Penn flashed a glimmer of hope early in the second half, starting 3-for-3 from the field to claw to within 41-25. But Shead hit a 3-pointer following a media timeout and the Cougars later turned an 11-2 spurt into a 61-31 lead, with Sharp completing that rally with a layup and a 3-pointer.

–Field Level Media

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