HOUSTON (AP) Emanuel Sharp scored Houston's last five points and finished with 21 points, L.J. Cryer added 17 and the unbeaten fourth-ranked Cougars held off Texas A&M 70-66 on Saturday.

Cryer has scored in double figures in 10 straight games, and Sharp has reached double figures in nine of 11 games this season.

“When we get into situations like this in the game where I am open and have a chance to take a shot like that, I don’t have any hesitation taking it because I have worked a lot,” Sharp said about scoring his team's final five points. “I have a lot of confidence that I can make those shots.”

Cryer and Sharp combined to score 23 points in the first half on 8-for-17 shooting, including five 3-pointers, as Houston built a 38-23 halftime lead.

“He’s fearless,” Houston coach Kelvin Sampson said of Sharp. “These guys have all played in big games. … Having a guy like Emanuel in his second year, a sophomore, this is only going to help him going forward. Our whole team, I think we all can get better from this experience.”

Jamal Shead had 12 points and eight assists, and J’Wan Roberts had 10 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists for Houston (11-0), which shot 43% and made 11 3-pointers.

Wade Taylor IV scored 34 points, including 26 in the second half, to lead an Aggies’ rally. Texas A&M (7-4) shot 38% from the field, including 9 of 27 on 3-pointers.

“When our backs are against the wall, we’re not going to back up,” Texas A&M forward Henry Coleman III said. “We’re going to be right in the middle of the ring, and we’re going to keep punching, punching, punching until there is zero on the clock.”

The Aggies have lost two straight.

“I’m just staying together with my team,” Taylor said. “We just got back to the things that got us here, and I feel like that played a big part today.”

Houston led 53-32 with 15½ minutes remaining before the Aggies rallied to tie it at 63 with 1 ½ minutes left. Ja’Vier Francis put Houston ahead with a dunk. Taylor missed a jumper with a minute left and Houston got the rebound. Sharp connected on a 3-pointer with 29 seconds left to push the lead to five.

Taylor hit another 3 with 21 seconds remaining to cut the lead to 68-66, and Houston had a violation on an inbounds play with 17 seconds left. Taylor missed a 3, but Coleman was fouled on the putback attempt with six seconds remaining. He missed both free throws and Roberts got the rebound. Sharp made two free throws with five seconds left to seal the win.


Texas A&M: The Aggies missed a chance for a marquee win ahead of SEC play, which starts Jan. 6 against LSU. The Aggies owned a 21-9 advantage in second-chance points.

Houston: The Cougars picked up another Quad 1 win, according to the NCAA Net rankings. Houston has four Quad 1 wins. Houston snapped a three-game losing streak to the Aggies in the teams’ first meeting since December 2013.


Texas A&M: Hosts Houston Christian on Friday.

Houston: Hosts Texas State on Thursday.


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