Provo • Aside from a brief stretch midway through the second half when BYU threatened a mild comeback, Houston didn’t have a problem with the blue-clad Cougars Saturday afternoon.
The red-clad Cougars stayed undefeated and snapped BYU’s five-game winning streak, pummeling the home team 76-62 at the Marriott Center.
“They just outplayed us,” BYU coach Dave Rose said. “They did a great job of staying with their game plan and making it work for them.”
Not much worked for BYU (5-2), which was hoping to use the matchup with the American Athletic Conference power to build its NCAA tournament resume, but shot the ball poorly and couldn’t keep Houston off the offensive glass.
Corey Davis Jr. led Houston with 24 points and Cedric Alley Jr. added 19.
TJ Haws led BYU with 25 points on 9 of 19 shooting, but got little help. Yoeli Childs added 16 points and nine rebounds, but no other Cougar scored more than five points.
BYU shot 28 percent (8 of 28) from 3-point range, while Houston shot 42 percent (11 of 26) from deep.
“They got total control of the tempo of the game,” Rose said. “They sped up up a little bit and we got a little bit frustrated.”
Houston (4-0) led 37-32 at halftime and opened the second half with a 22-8 run to take control. It led by as many as 19 points before BYU staged a comeback.
The blue Cougars cut the deficit to 10, 65-55, when Luke Worthington made a pair of free throws with a little over five minutes remaining.
But Houston’s Breaon Brady made a field goal, BYU’s Dalton Nixon missed a 3-pointer, and UH’s Davis hit a 3-pointer with four minutes remaining. Davis’ 3-pointer moments later gave his team a 73-55 lead, and BYU’s comeback hopes were over.
Alley was 5 of 8 from 3-point range for Houston.
“We felt like we could come off [Alley] and he hit five threes,” Rose said. “That’s kinda on us.”
Houston won the rebounding battle 36-28, including an 11-9 edge in offensive rebounds. Several of those offensive boards led to a 7-0 run after BYU made the first basket of the second half.
BYU plays at Illinois State on Wednesday.
“They just keep coming,” Rose said.”This felt like a league game. I think the guys can learn from it. We have a lot of young guys playing a lot of minutes out there and hopefully this experience will be good for them.”