J’Wan Roberts’ dunk with 1.3 seconds left in double overtime gave No. 14 Houston a thrilling 76-74 win over Wichita State on Sunday.
It was Roberts’ only field goal of the game and followed by Wichita State’s Craig Porter who hit a 3-point shot with 5.4 seconds left in second overtime.
Cougars’ Jamal Shead took the boundary and ran across the floor, hitting Roberts for the clear winner.
Houston coach Kelvin Sampson credited Wisconsin with a loss earlier this season when the Cougars failed to execute in the final five seconds. This situation has been addressed in practice on several occasions
“We kept putting five seconds on the clock, five seconds on the clock, five seconds on the clock to get a sense of what we can do in that amount of time,” Sampson said. “Jamal learned from failure, and that led to this success.”
Josh Carlton scored 11 of his 23 points in both overtime, finishing 9 of 14 from the floor for Houston (22-4, 11-2 American).
Shead scored 13 points for the Cougars while Kyler Edwards, Fabian White and Ramon Walker each added 11.
Porter and Ricky Council each scored 17 for Wichita State (13-10, 4-7) while Tyson Etienne added 15.
“It’s a confidence factor for us,” said Etienne. “They are a great team and we took them to the wire.”
Much of that credit goes to Porter, who scored eight points in the second overtime. The Shockers started cleaning up every possession for him.
“But then Houston went into the zone, and that gave us a problem,” Wichita State coach Isaac Brown said. “Credit Houston for that. They made crucial plays.
Houston built a six-point lead in the first overtime behind Carlton, but Wichita State rallied and Porter’s free throw tied it with 18.1 seconds left. Walker’s 3-pointer at the buzzer failed to send him to a second OT.
The Cougars are still excelling despite starting guards Tramion Mack and Marcus Sasser injured midseason. Sampson said wins like this make all the difference.
“I had two kids that played 49 minutes tonight,” said Sampson, who improved to 8-2 against Wichita State. “Think about that. I’ve never had that. Winning six of seven (conference games) on the road for this group is a really big deal.
ON THE SETS
Houston leads the American in rebound margin and offensive rebound percentage (37.2 entering the game).
But the Shockers outshot the Cougars 20-19 in the first half, allowing Houston just four offensive rebounds in 20 first-half opportunities. Wichita State was even better in the second half, outscoring the Cougars 15-12. But in the first overtime, Houston grabbed four of the first five rebounds while quickly building a six-point lead. And near the end of the second overtime, two Houston offensive rebounds led to Carlton’s three-point play with 13 seconds left. Wichita State edged Houston 43-42 for the game.
“Offensive rebounds were big in the second half,” Sampson said. “As the game progressed, I thought our culture really helped us.”
A DEFENSIVE PROBLEM, KIND OF
Wichita State was 23 of 26 from the free throw line. To Samson, it sounded familiar. Memphis went 18 of 19 from the free throw line in beating Houston on Feb. 12, and SMU was 21 of 27 against Houston in the previous game.
“I don’t know what’s about us,” Sampson said. “We bring out the best in the other team in the free throw line.”
One of the things that pleased Sampson the most was that his young players went through a tough game on the road.
“We had three freshmen on the floor tonight,” Sampson said. “Ramon Walker was supposed to wear a red shirt before we got all the injuries. And he was picked defensively tonight by Porter, but he also hit home three 3-pointers. These are huge blows for us.
Houston: The Cougars remain in sole possession of first place in the conference and maintain momentum heading into March.
Wichita State: Positioned for a home win that blunted some of the season’s disappointment, the Shockers couldn’t finish Houston.
Houston: at Tulane on Wednesday
Wichita State: Memphis Saturday