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Shockers fall to #12 Houston on the road

Wichita State interim coach Isaac Brown reacts to referee John Higgins after a call during the...
Wichita State interim coach Isaac Brown reacts to referee John Higgins after a call during the first half the team's NCAA college game against Houston on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021 in Wichita, Kan. (Travis Heying/The Wichita Eagle via AP)(Travis Heying | AP)
Published: Jan. 8, 2022 at 3:31 PM CST
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HOUSTON, Texas. (WSU Athletics) - Helped by 22 points by Josh Carlton, No. 12/14 Houston held off Wichita State’s second-half charge for a 76-66 victory, Saturday afternoon at the Fertitta Center.

Carlton made 8-of-12 shots and grabbed 12 rebounds for the Cougars (14-2, 3-0 American), who extended their home winning streak to 34 games.

Tyson Etienne (11 points) and Dexter Dennis (10) paced the Shockers (9-5, 0-2), who saw their four-game true road winning streak snapped.

Houston scored 26 points on 14 Shocker turnovers.

Jamal Shead finished with 10 points, seven assists and came up with four steals, including a game-changer with 4:00 left that snapped a 9-0 WSU run.

The Shockers had clawed to within six and had a chance to make it a one-possession game. Instead Shead jumped a perimeter pass and turned it into a layup on the opposite end.

Carlton converted a three-point play on the next trip down to ice the game for Houston.

Clarence “Monzy” Jackson added nine points and a team-high eight rebounds off the bench for WSU, and Craig Porter Jr. paired eight points with a team-best four assists.

WSU shot 40.4 percent and sank 14-of-17 free throw tries.

Houston finished at 45.3 percent and knocked down 12-of-17 freebies.

The Cougars won the battle of the boards, 40-35, and turned 17 offensive rebounds into 19 points.

Houston’s front court contributed to a fast start. The Cougars scored the game’s first eight points and led by as many as 10 (20-10) at the midway point of the first half.

WSU scored three-straight baskets to turn the tide and pulled to within three on three-separate occasions before halftime.

Carlton’s tip-in ahead of the halftime buzzer gave him a team-high 11 first-half points and sent the host Cougars into the locker room with a 36-31 advantage.

UH shot 50 percent in the opening half and made 10 of its first 17 to start the second half to lead by as many as 15.

Shead threaded a baseline pass to Carlton for a dunk and his seventh assist of the day to make it a 65-50 game with 8:42 to play.

WSU’s run started with stops. The Shockers forced eight-consecutive Cougar misses over a 5:00 stretch to make a game of it.

Udeze tipped in a miss to set off a 9-0 WSU run. Dennis drove for a dunk. Council added two free throws and a tip-in to pull the Shockers within 65-59 with still 5:20 to play.

Dennis rimmed out an open three that would have cut the margin to three.

WSU forced another stop, but Shead’s timely steal and basket put an end to the Shockers’ momentum.

The Shockers return home for two games next week: Wednesday against Tulane (7 p.m. CT, ESPN+) and Sunday afternoon versus Cincinnati (Noon CT, ESPN).

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