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Houston Wins Physical College Basketball Game Against Wichita State

Wichita State and Houston basketball teams came into Saturday’s matchup on completely different paths. While the Cougars continue to be plagued by injuries, they were 2-0 in the AAC and had a chance to extend their lead. Wichita State was 0-1 after a resounding home loss to Memphis last week.

With Houston’s 76-66 home win over Wichita State, the Cougars are sitting pretty atop the AAC with a 3-0 record. For the defending regular season champion Wichita State, they are now 0-2 and don’t have much time to right the ship. Houston looked to be the better team from the jump in this game, but they couldn’t put away Wichita State. Seemingly every time they stretched their lead, the Shockers went on a run to bring it close again. Eventually, Houston’s capitalizing defense was just too much for the Shockers.

houston aac college basketball
Credit: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Houston’s Defense Stout in 76-66 Win

Turning Defense Into Offense

They say defense wins championships. On the court, defense is great, but you need to put up points too. On Saturday, Houston used their defense to not only generate turnovers, but they also scored off of turnovers as well. To be fair to the Shockers, their defense was solid as well. In fact, Wichita State only turned the ball over one more time than the Cougars. Unfortunately for Wichita State, they did much less with their opportunities.

The Shockers had 14 turnovers to Houston’s 13. Through fantastic ball movement and burying open shots, the difference between points off of turnovers was stark. Houston turned 14 Shocker turnovers into 26 points. Wichita State was only able to turn 13 Houston turnovers into 10 points. Every possession counts in conference play and, today, Houston did more with what they were given. That difference was arguably the main reason why Houston beat Wichita State.

Poor Officiating

In any sport, an unfortunate truth is that too often the officials like to make the game about themselves. Unfortunately, in this college basketball game, that was the case. The first half saw good play, but it was too physical to be uncalled. Unfortunately, the officials didn’t get the memo. In a game where multiple fouls should’ve been called on both teams, it took over 15 and a half minutes before the first free throw was attempted by either team. Letting teams play is just how some referees officiate. It’s okay as long as it’s consistent to both teams over the course of the game. Unfortunately, it was a tale of two halves.

Plain and simple, Houston was the more physical basketball team for almost the entire second half. If you just looked at the box score, however, you would have had no idea. Multiple charges were called against the Cougars. Multiple calls on both sides were called out by commentator Clark Kellogg. Wichita State found themselves in the double bonus, drawing 10 fouls before Houston even drew five. The calls were a majority of the reason why Houston’s lead was trimmed to just six with over five minutes to play.

While the better team won, that won’t always be the case. This crew of Garrick Shannon, Darron George and Zelton Steed needs to be watched closely by the AAC.

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