FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Marcus Sasser scored 17 points playing close to home, Quentin Grimes added 15 and No. 17 Houston never trailed in a 64-53 victory over 14th-ranked Texas Tech in a neutral-site Texas meeting Sunday.
Sasser, whose career high of 26 points came at SMU in Dallas as a freshman last season, was 5 of 15 from the field as the Cougars (3-0) overcame 35% shooting at Dickies Arena. That’s where they are set to play in the American Athletic Conference tournament this season near downtown Fort Worth and not far from the Dallas suburb where Sasser grew up.
A 3-pointer from Grimes opened the scoring and put the Red Raiders behind for the first time this season. Texas Tech (2-1) went six minutes without scoring in the first half and trailed by 18 just 12 minutes into the game.
Mac McClung scored 16 points but missed all six of his 3-point tries for the Red Raiders, who shot 22% from long range. Freshman Micah Peavy had 12 points.
Sasser put the Cougars up 53-33 with a 3 before the Red Raiders went an 11-0 run midway through the second half, the first nine points coming on free throws before a dunk by Peavy.
Terrence Shannon Jr. cut Texas Tech’s deficit back to nine with a steal and dunk before McClung’s driving layup was blocked out of bounds by Brison Greshman, who was immediately called for a technical foul, apparently for taunting. McClung’s free throws got the Red Raiders within seven.
Texas Tech had chances to get closer but couldn’t convert before Houston regained control and kept the lead around 10 the rest of the way.
Texas Tech: Marcus Santos-Silva, a grad transfer from VCU who had a double-double in each of his first two games with the Red Raiders, had four points and five rebounds. The other transfers had even less of an impact. Jamarius Burton (Wichita State) had six points, and Joel Ntambwe (UNLV) went scoreless in just five minutes.
Houston: The third straight neutral-site meeting between the former Southwest Conference opponents was the second consecutive victory for the Cougars after losing the previous nine times in the series. It was the first meeting between the schools in six years.
ALMA MATER IN THE FAMILY
Sasser’s uncle Jason Sasser was the last Southwest Conference player of the year at Texas Tech in 1996. The elder Sasser averaged 19.5 points and 7.8 rebounds as the Red Raiders went 30-2 and lost in the Sweet 16 the season before joining the Big 12 along with Texas, Texas A&M and Baylor. The SWC disbanded.
Texas Tech: St. John’s at home Tuesday.
Houston: South Carolina at home Saturday.