HOUSTON (AP) — Yor Anei scored 18 points to lead the Oklahoma State Cowboys to a 61-55 win over the Houston Cougars on Sunday.
Anei scored a layup with less than a minute remaining and later hit two clutch free throws. For the Cowboys (8-2), Cameron McGriff had 12 points, and Lindy Waters III and Thomas Dziagwa both added 11 points.
Caleb Mills led Houston (6-3) with 23 points off the bench, a career high for the redshirt freshman.
Houston struggled to stop Anei, a 6-foot-10 sophomore, who made 5 of 10 shots from the field, 8 of 9 free throws and added eight rebounds.
Oklahoma State led for much of the game until Mills hit two free throws for Houston to tie the game at 50 with 3:40 remaining. The free throws capped off a 10-0 run for the Cougars during Oklahoma State’s scoring drought of more than three minutes.
Oklahoma State dominated the first half with hot shooting and relentless defensive pressure. The Cowboys jumped to a 9-2 lead before Houston clawed back and briefly kept pace. Mills hit a 3-pointer to cut Oklahoma State’s lead to 21-19 with 7:29 remaining in the first half.
Those would be the last points the Cougars would score in the first half.
The Cowboys scored the final 14 points of the first half to take a 35-19 into halftime.
With 18:35 left in the second half, the Cougars finally ended their scoring drought at just under nine minutes with a jumper from Mills.
After a 7-0 start to the season, Oklahoma State had lost its previous two games. For the Cougars, the loss snaps a four-game winning streak.
In their previous matchup, Houston cruised to a 63-53 win in Stillwater last December as part of their 15-0 start to the season.
Oklahoma State: The Cowboys reversed course on their recent slump by putting a stronger emphasis on rebounding. After being outrebounded 42-31 in an 80-61 loss to Wichita State, they were only slightly outrebounded by Houston 40-39. Keeping that trend in their final two non-conference games will be critical for a strong start to Big 12 play in January.
Houston: The Cougars entered Sunday ranked third among Division I teams with an offensive rebound percentage of 40.7% and averaged 14.5 offensive rebounds per game. Against Oklahoma State, the Cougars won the rebound margin 40-39 overall but were outrebounded 29-17 on the offensive end. Maintaining their rebounding identity will be critical for Houston when the deep shots aren’t falling.
Oklahoma State: The Cowboys host Minnesota at the Bank of Oklahoma Center in Tulsa on Saturday afternoon.
Houston: The Cougars host the 6-1 University of Texas-El Paso Miners on Thursday night.
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