HOUSTON (AP) — Jarace Walker had a career-high 25 points and seven rebounds, and No. 3 Houston rallied from an 11-point second-half deficit to defeat Cincinnati 75-69 on Saturday.
Walker, who scored 13 points in the second half, was 10 of 14 from the field. J’Wan Roberts added 14 points and six rebounds, and Jamal Shead scored 13 points for Houston (20-2, 8-1 American Athletic Conference).
Houston has won at least 20 games in eight straight seasons under coach Kelvin Sampson. The Cougars shot 57% but were just 5 of 17 on 3-pointers.
Landers Nolley II had 24 points, including 6 3-pointers. Vicktor Lakhin added 15 points, and David DeJulius had 14 points and nine assists for Cincinnati (14-8, 5-4). The Bearcats shot 44%, including 11 of 27 on 3-pointers.
Trailing 60-49 with 11½ minutes remaining, the Cougars used a 20-4 run to take a five-point lead — capped by a Roberts dunk with 2:49 remaining. But the Bearcats responded with five straight points to tie it at 69 on a 3-pointer by DeJulius with 1:19 left.
Houston answered with a step-back jumper from Shead with 47 seconds to give the Cougars a two-point lead.
After Cincinnati was whistled for a shot clock violation, Shead made two free throws with 14 seconds remaining to put Houston up 73-69. On the other end, Lakhin was whistled for goaltending with five seconds left.
Cincinnati used a 16-0 run to jump out to a 19-6 lead on a 3-pointer by Jeremiah Davenport with 13 minutes remaining. It was the largest deficit for Houston this season. The Bearcats took a 43-36 lead into the half on a halfcourt 3 by Mika Adams-Woods at the buzzer.
The Bearcats struggled in the second half, shooting 30% and making just 3 of 15 3-point attempts.
Houston outrebounded Cincinnati 35-27 and held a 42-28 advantage in points in the paint.
Cincinnati: The Bearcats missed a chance at a marquee win. Cincinnati last beat a top 3-ranked team on March 9, 2012 (No. 2 Syracuse, 71-68).
Houston: The Cougars have not lost consecutive home games since January 2017. … Houston has won eight straight over the Bearcats. … Houston’s struggles from the free-throw line continued, finishing 10 of 16.
Cincinnati: Hosts Tulsa on Wednesday.
Houston: At Wichita State on Thursday.
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