If there was any doubt over what the game of the year has been in college basketball, it’s now been decided with this Houston vs Wichita State game. Neither team led by more than six points all game and the win probability chart looked more like a defective seismograph. In a game that the Cougars needed to hold their slim lead atop the AAC basketball standings, they found a way to escape unscathed.
It was a hard-fought victory for Houston in a game that showcased some of the best defense this year. Statistically, it was as deadlocked as it could’ve been. Wichita State shot just 0.1% better from the field and Houston shot just 1% better from deep. In the end, Houston was able to dig deeper and win in one of the craziest endings in AAC history. With the win, Houston stays atop the conference while the Shockers drop to 4-8 in AAC play.
Houston Stays Atop the AAC Basketball Standings With 76-74 Win
Josh Carlton Plays Hero
For a brief moment late in the second overtime, it looked as if all of Josh Carlton’s contributions would go unnoticed. With 23 seconds left, Carlton received a beautiful touch pass with a wide-open layup. Carlton missed it and the game stayed tied. Houston regained possession and Carlton got the ball inside again. He made a tough and-one layup to put Houston up three with just 13 seconds to go to put his botched layup in the rearview mirror.
That wasn’t the only contribution from Carlton either. With the shot clock about to expire, Carlton had to fire up a three. It fell and it was his first collegiate three-point make. More importantly, it put Houston up three with just under four minutes left in the second overtime. Carlton made play after play when Houston needed it, finishing with 23 points, 11 rebounds and two steals.
In a game where forward Fabian White Jr. fouled out in the first overtime, Carlton stepped up in his absence. Houston can’t always play perfect basketball, but if players can step up in big moments when the rest of the team is struggling, this team can go a long way in this year’s NCAA Tournament.
Wichita State’s Inconsistency On Display
In a game like this, it’s ridiculous for anyone to try to take away from the performance we saw from the Shockers. Going up against an elite defense, Wichita State’s offense played just as good as Houston’s. Their defense was swarming and outside of a few horribly timed breakdowns, most notably in the waning seconds of the second overtime, looked like one that should terrorize the AAC.
This loss isn’t a bad loss for Wichita State by any means. This loss does beg the question as to what is going on with Wichita State. The Shockers have also beat SMU by 15 points earlier this month. Yet, with 12 conference games in the book, they are just 4-8, which is good for eighth in the AAC basketball standings. Wichita State has shown once again how good they can be. The only question is whether or not they can ever find this form consistently. With the only way into postseason play now in the conference’s automatic bid, the Shockers need to dig deep and try to capture some consistency before it’s too late.