The No. 15 Houston Cougars hope to continue their winning ways at home when they host Bryant on Friday night.
Houston routed Northwestern State 99-58 Tuesday behind Marcus Sasser's seven 3-pointers and game-high 26 points. He had 23 of his points to help the Cougars to a 60-25 halftime bulge. Houston finished the game making a season-high 14 3-pointers.
The Cougars returned home from playing three consecutive games in Las Vegas before Thanksgiving, beating Butler and No. 23 Oregon and losing to Wisconsin.
The Cougars (6-1) have won 29 straight games at the Fertitta Center. Houston forced Northwestern State into 21 turnovers which it converted into 32 points.
"We have a portion of our schedule now where we are not traveling," said Cougars head coach Kelvin Sampson. "We were in Las Vegas and had to play some difficult teams. A tough thing for us is not to practice. We were just playing games and we learned as we went.
"Coming back home and getting a big win helped."
Taze Moore added 17 points, and Jamal Shead and Tramon Mark each had 12 for the Cougars.
"Tramon has all of the tools, and he can do a lot of things," Sampson said. "He just has to stay patient and let the game come to him. He has been practicing well, and he will get back on track."
Sasser is Houston's leading scorer on the season, averaging 18.6 points per game.
Houston is one of only three teams to rank among KenPom.com's top-10 leaders in both offensive and defensive efficiency. Houston leads the nation with an 87.9 adjusted defensive efficiency and is 10th in the nation offensively (113.7).
Bryant enters the contest off a 63-61 overtime loss to Dartmouth on Sunday. Dartmouth hit the winning basket with 0.9 seconds left in the extra period. Dartmouth tied the game with 2.9 seconds left in regulation.
"We needed to get a stop on the last possession in regulation," Bryant head coach Jared Grasso said. "We weren't disciplined enough to do what we asked coming out of the timeout."
The Bulldogs received a stellar double-double effort from Charles Pride, who had 23 points and 14 rebounds on 9-of-19 shooting from the field and 5-for-11 from beyond the arc. Peter Kiss added 19 points and five rebounds. Kiss leads the team with a 21.6 scoring clip through five games, while Pride is averaging 14.9 in seven games.
Bryant turned the ball over 20 times which Dartmouth converted into 28 points despite shooting 36.4 percent from the field. The Bulldogs shot 35.3 percent from the field and 25 percent from 3-point land, but outrebounded Dartmouth 53-33.
Bryant (3-4) fell below .500 on their see-saw season. The Bulldogs posted victories over Holy Cross and Brown after a three-game losing streak. The Bulldogs will have a challenging weekend with Houston on Friday and a game at Cincinnati on Sunday.
Grasso knows his team has to raise the bar.
"We just have to be better," Grasso said. "We have to take care of the ball. Some of our practice habits need to improve. We just threw the ball all over the place early on against Dartmouth. Lately, we have committed a lot of careless turnovers."
--Field Level Media