J'Wan Roberts registered 15 points and eight rebounds and top-ranked Houston remained unbeaten with a 53-48 victory over Saint Mary's on Saturday night in the Battleground 2K22 at Fort Worth, Texas.
Cougars star Marcus Sasser had 13 points before leaving with a left shoulder injury with 1:10 remaining as the Cougars (8-0) won their second straight game since becoming No. 1 for the first time in nearly 39 years.
Logan Johnson recorded 17 points, six rebounds and five assists for Saint Mary's (6-3), which lost its third straight game. Aidan Mahaney added 14 points and Kyle Bowen collected 12 rebounds for the Gaels.
Houston shot just 36.8 percent from the field, including 3 of 11 from 3-point range. The Cougars committed just five turnovers while forcing 17.
The Gaels made 37 percent of their shots and were 9 of 22 from behind the arc. Saint Mary's owned a 36-27 rebounding advantage.
Roberts' basket gave the Cougars a 39-27 lead with 13:18 left in the game.
Saint Mary's responded with a 13-4 run and Mahaney drained two 3-pointers, the second cutting Houston's lead to 43-40 with 7:57 remaining.
Tramon Mark buried a trey 18 seconds later to give the Cougars a six-point lead. But Mahaney connected on another 3-pointer to pull the Gaels within 46-43 with 6:31 left.
Houston answered with a short bank by Roberts and a three-point play by Sasser to increase its lead to 51-43 with 3:14 remaining.
Mahaney's fourth trey of the second half pulled Saint Mary's within 53-48 with 2:23 left but the Gaels didn't score again as the Cougars prevailed.
Houston finished the first half with a 9-0 run to hold a 31-20 lead at the break. Roberts had five points during the run.
The Gaels led 14-11 after Johnson's basket with 10:10 left in the half before the Cougars controlled the rest of the half.
Jamal Shead buried a 3-pointer to cap an 11-3 burst to give Houston a 22-17 lead with 5:49 left. Alex Ducas drained a 3-pointer with 4:58 remaining for Saint Mary's final points of the half.
Sasser had 10 first-half points for the Cougars. Johnson had 10 in the half for the Gaels.
--Field Level Media