Quentin Grimes sank a career-best eight 3-pointers en route to a career-high 33 points as Houston rolled past visiting Western Kentucky 81-57 on Thursday at the Fertitta Center.
Grimes finished 11-for-21 from the floor and 8-for-16 from behind the arc to pace the Cougars (19-3), who fell behind early in the second half before tightening the defensive screws to fuel their victory. While turning a one-point deficit into a 64-47 lead, Houston forced Western Kentucky into nine turnovers while limiting the Hilltoppers (15-5) to just 10 shot attempts.
Marcus Sasser, saddled with foul trouble in the first half, and Grimes sparked the rally with consecutive 3s that pushed Houston to a 45-40 lead. The Cougars kept rolling, and Grimes' 3 with 6:41 left gave Houston a 71-50 lead. The final represented the largest lead for the Cougars.
Sasser finished with 12 points while freshman Tramon Mark also notched 12, including 10 points early in the first half to bolster the Houston offense after Sasser went to the bench.
Senior guard Taveion Hollingsworth paced the Hilltoppers with 17 points while junior center Charles Bassey, who entered averaging a double-double (18 points, 11.7 rebounds) had just nine points and seven boards. Western Kentucky had its six-game win streak snapped by committing 20 turnovers that Houston converted into 27 points and by missing 13 of 17 3s.
The Hilltoppers shot 7 of 23 in the second half after shooting 52 percent prior to the intermission.
Houston led by as many as 12 points in the first half but could not shake the Hilltoppers, even with Grimes' unconscious shooting. Grimes scored 18 consecutive points for Houston during one stretch, with DeJon Jarreau snapping the run with a pullup jumper at the 1:52 mark.
Western Kentucky fashioned a 12-3 run to slice into the deficit and trailed 39-38 at the break. Houston missed 6 of 7 shots down the stretch of the half, and when Hollingsworth sank two free throws early in the second, the Hilltoppers moved ahead. That lead was short-lived, however.
--Field Level Media