In a thrilling matchup, No. 6 Houston displayed resilience as LJ Cryer’s clutch performance propelled the Cougars to a 76-66 victory over Utah, securing a spot in the Charleston Classic championship game. Despite facing challenges in their three-point shooting and free throws, Houston’s late rally showcased their determination and marked a 5-0 record for the second consecutive season.
The Cougars, shooting 33% from beyond the arc (8 of 24) and making only half of their free throws, overcame these obstacles with a late surge. LJ Cryer played a pivotal role, scoring 14 points, including crucial 3-pointers that helped Houston reclaim the lead after Utah had erased a 14-point deficit.
Gabe Madsen led a spirited comeback for the Utes, hitting three of his eight 3-pointers in a remarkable 20-6 run. This surge tied the game at 56-all with seven minutes left in the second half. Madsen finished with a career-high 29 points, and Branden Carlson contributed 17 points for Utah (3-1).
Emanuel Sharp led the Cougars with 15 points, while Jamal Shead added 14. J’Wan Roberts notched his first double-double of the season with 13 points and 12 rebounds, further emphasizing the balanced effort from the Houston squad.
With this hard-fought victory, Houston advances to the Charleston Classic championship game, where they will face Dayton on Sunday night.
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