Marcus Sasser scored 19 points and Jamal Shead hit the go-ahead jumper with 48 seconds left as No. 2 Houston overcame a sluggish start to rally for a 49-44 victory over visiting Kent State on Saturday.
Sasser shot 5 of 16 from the field, including 1 of 10 from 3-point range, to go along with five rebounds and two assists, while J'Wan Roberts added 11 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. Shead finished with six points and five rebounds.
Houston (6-0), which trailed by six points early in the second half, shot a season-low 16 of 50 (32 percent) from the field, including 2 of 17 (11.8 percent) from 3-point range, in addition to outrebounding the Golden Flashes 56-33.
Kent State (5-2) was led by VonCameron Davis, who had a team-high 14 points to go along with four rebounds. Sincere Carry, who averaged a team-high 19.8 points, was held to just nine points by going 2 of 22 from the field, including 1 of 11 from beyond the arc. Carry did collect eight steals, while Malique Jacobs had 11 points and a team-leading seven rebounds.
The Golden Flashes shot 15 of 63 (23.8 percent) from the field, including 6 of 29 (20.7 percent) from beyond the arc.
Trailing 30-24 with 16:11 left in the game, Tramon Mark and Sasser hit back-to-back 3-pointers to spark a 15-0 run to take a 39-30 lead following Ja'Vier Francis' free throw with 10:42 to go.
The Golden Flashes responded by going on a 14-4 run to take a 44-43 lead on Jacobs' 3-pointer with 1:05 remaining.
Shead countered with a short jumper with 48 seconds to give Houston the lead. Jarace Walker blocked Carry from close range and Sasser hit two free throws to push the lead to 47-44 with 28 seconds left.
The Golden Flashes missed a pair of 3-point attempts on their next possession and Sasser secured the win with two free throws with 12 seconds left.
After Kent State took a 15-5 lead on Davis' layup with 13:52 left in the first half, the Cougars chipped away at the lead and took a 24-22 advantage at halftime.
--Field Level Media