January 19, 2014
HOUSTON (AP) - Danrad Knowles had 16 points and eight rebounds as Houston used a huge second half to pull away from the Rutgers for a 77-55 win Sunday.
Knowles had 11 points in the second half as the Cougars used a 22-3 run over a 7 1/2 minute stretch in the second half to pull away.
Danuel House added 14 points, Brandon Morris and TaShawn Thomas each had 12 points, and Jherrod Stiggers scored 11 for Houston (11-7, 3-2 American), which shot 50 percent from the field and connected on 11 of 25 from behind the arc in snapping a two-game losing streak.
Myles Mack led Rutgers (8-10, 2-3) with 15 points, and Kadeem Jack added 10 points and nine rebounds for the Scarlet Knights, who shot 31 percent from the field, including 24 percent in the second half in dropping their third in the last four games.
Rutgers used a 10-0 run to take a 38-37 lead on a Jack layup with 15:55 left. Mack scored six points in the run, and Jack had the other four.
But after taking the lead, Rutgers went 4 1/2 minutes without a field goal, missing nine straight from the field and hitting one free throw. Over a 7 1/2 minute span of the second half, the Knights had one field goal and three points as the Cougars turned a 1-point deficit into an 18-point lead in a 22-3 run that opened up a 59-41 Houston advantage with 8:44 to go.
The Cougars scored 11 straight points to regain a 10-point lead on back-to-back 3-pointers from Stiggers and House with 13:07 remaining.
Jack's lay-up with 11:25 remaining cut the Cougars' lead to 48-41, but that would be as close as the Knights would get.
Houston opened up a 10-point lead several times in the first half, including with 4:03 left in the half on a 3-point play by Thomas.
The Cougars led 35-28 at the half, shooting 46 percent from the field, including hitting six of 12 from behind the arc.
Following Sunday's game, the Cougars hit the road again to meet No. 17/17 Memphis at 7 p.m., Thursday, inside FedExForum in Memphis, Tenn.
Houston then meets SMU at 2 p.m., Sunday, inside Hofheinz Pavilion in the first of two regular-season meetings.
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With the win, Houston improved to 11-7 on the season and 3-2 in American Athletic Conference play.
The 77-55 victory marks the first 20+ point victory for the Cougars since a 89-58 win against Alcorn State on Dec. 14.
Houston and Rutgers met for the first time since the 1973-74 season, a span of 14,631 days.
Houston has now won both games in the series against Rutgers including a 95-84 win in the 1973 All-College Tournament in Oklahoma City.
With his 4-for-6 day from the three-point line, senior guard Brandon Morris is now 16-28 (57.1 percent) in his last seven games.
Junior forward TaShawn Thomas finished with 12 points on 5-11 shooting from the field. Thomas came into the matchup fourth in the American Athletic Conference in scoring (16.9 ppg) and second in field goal percentage (62.4 percent).
The Cougars had five players reach double-figures in points for the first time since Nov. 30 2013 against Texas A&M Corpus Christi. Danrad Knowles (16), Danuel House (14), Brandon Morris (12), TaShawn Thomas (12), and Jherrod Stiggers (11) all reached the double-digit plateau in the game.
Houston set a new season high in team assists with 21 in the win. The last time the Cougars recorded 20 or more assits in a game was at Tulane on March 9, 2013.
Sophomore guard L.J. Rose led the team with his new career high eight assists. Rose's previous high was six against Lehigh on Nov. 11, 2013.
With nine blocks in the game, Houston now has 113 blocks on the season (6.3 bpg) a mark good enough for third in the American Athletic Conference.
Senior guard Brandon Morris set a new career-high with his two blocks, and freshman forward Danrad Knowles matched a career high with four of his own.
The Cougars got tremendous help from their bench in the game outscoring the Scarlet Knights 35-15. So far this season, the solid production from the bench has attributed 33.3 percent (426 out of 1,281) of Houston's points this season.
After going 29-58 (50 percent) from the field, Houston has now shot 50 percent or better eight times this season. The last time Houston shot better than 50 percent came at Louisiana-Lafayette on Dec. 14, 2013.