HOUSTON (AP) — Jamal Shead scored a career-high 25 points, Marcus Sasser added 22 and No. 1 Houston defeated Wichita State 83-66 on Thursday night.
Shead shot 10 of 17 from the field. The junior was 4 of 8 on 3-pointers.
“My teammates told me to be aggressive,” Shead said. “They were just being confident in me, giving me confidence in myself. That really helped."
Sasser tied the school career record for most 3-pointers set by Robert McKiver with 261. He also scored at least 20 points for the sixth straight game, and chants of “Sasser” filled the Fertitta Center after it was over.
“Just all the love in Houston,” Sasser, who played his last home game on senior night. “They’ve been giving me love since I was a freshman, and they are still doing it to this day. I just can’t thank the Houston community enough.”
Jarace Walker had 13 points and nine rebounds for Houston (28-2, 16-1 American Athletic Conference). The Cougars shot 47%, including 9 of 25 on 3s, in winning their 10th straight game.
“The guys didn’t have the right mindset to start the game where Wichita State did,” Houston coach Kelvin Sampson said. “They came out here to play, our guys came out here for a memorial service. Fellas, we have a game. Once we got rolling in the second half, we were good.”
Houston forced 20 turnovers, which it converted into 17 points.
“They did a good job,” Wichita State coach Isaac Brown said of the Cougars. “They ambushed the low post. They pressure you hard. They did a good job of turning us over. Twenty turnovers are way too many.”
Craig Porter Jr. had 17 points and seven rebounds, Jaron Pierre Jr. added 16 points and Kenny Pohto had 12 for Wichita State (15-14, 8-9).
The Shockers lost despite shooting 65% (24 of 37) from the field. They were worse at the foul line, making only 12 of 21 (57%).
Leading 37-35, Houston extended it to a 12-point lead on a dunk by Roberts, capping a 13-3 run with 13½ minutes left.
Wichita State countered with an 8-0 burst to close within four on two free throws by James Rojas with 11 minutes left, but got no closer.
The Shockers scored 10 straight points to open a 22-14 lead midway through the first half. Houston led 33-31 at the break.
BIG PICTURE Wichita State: The Shockers shot a season-high 72% (13 of 18) from the field in the first half. … Wichita State fell to 2-9 all-time against AP No. 1-ranked teams.
Houston: The Cougars won their fourth straight over Wichita State. … Outrebounded the Shockers 26-23, including an 11-3 advantage in offensive boards. CUTTING DOWN THE NETS Following the game, Houston cut down the nets to celebrate its fourth regular season AAC championship in five seasons. The Cougars clinched the title Saturday at East Carolina.
“I don’t know how many conference championships we’ve won, but that’s our first goal every year,” Sampson said. “We want to win the conference, and number two, we want to make the NCAA Tournament. Those are our two major goals. I don’t take those things for granted.” UP NEXT Wichita State: Hosts South Florida on Sunday in its regular-season finale. Houston: Plays at Memphis on Sunday to end the regular season.
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