HOUSTON (AP) Emanuel Sharp scored a career-high 25 points, LJ Cryer added 21, and No. 3 Houston defeated Jackson State 89-55 on Saturday.

Cryer, who has scored in double-figures in nine straight games, scored 16 points in the first half as Houston led 37-29 at halftime. Sharp scored 16 points in the second half.

Cryer and Sharp combined to shoot 12 of 28 from the field, including 8 of 17 on 3-pointers.

The Cougars outscored the Tigers 52-26 in the second half.

Houston coach Kelvin Sampson said his team’s second-half performance came down to them trying harder.

“When a coach is upset at his team, the answer is not always to scream, holler and fuss at them,” Sampson said. “Sometimes you can have a much better effect by saying nothing. That’s the approach I took.”

Houston improved to 10-0 for the third time in school history, joining the 2018-19 and 1967-68 teams. The Cougars shot 42% and were 11 of 30 on 3-pointers.

“Just staying true to our culture,” Sharp said of the key to Houston’s start. “That’s how we start out good every year. We are trying to apply what coach has told us ever since June, July, August. He’s implemented all the aspects of our culture - playing hard, our attitude. It’s up to us to apply that every game.”

Coltie Young scored 13 points to lead Jackson State (2-7). Ken Evans Jr., who entered averaging 20.4 points per game, was held to six points and was ejected in the second half after getting his second technical foul. The Tigers shot 43%.

“They just jumped on us in the second half,” Jackson State coach Mo Williams said. “They dominated the second half on the boards - all game - and they turned us over. Those were two main points of emphasis, were offensive rebounds and protecting the ball. We didn’t do neither one of those to our liking.”

The Cougars opened things up with a 15-2 run to take a 33-19 lead on a 3-pointer by Sharp with five minutes left in the half, but Jackson State answered with 10 straight points to cut the lead to four on a 3 by Jayme Mitchell with three minutes remaining.

After trailing by eight at the half, the Tigers closed within 42-35 early in the second, but the Cougars responded with 10 straight points, capped by layup by Damian Dunn with 14:19 remaining.


Jackson State: The Tigers won’t play their first home game until Jan. 6 when it opens SWAC play against Alcorn, with games at Gonzaga and Northwestern still remaining to close out December.

Houston: The Cougars’ swarming defense in addition to their size and athleticism continues to give teams fits. Houston forced 24 turnovers and turned it into 31 points and held a 47-25 advantage in rebounding.


Jackson State: Plays Howard on Dec. 16 and North Carolina A&T on Dec. 17 as part of the CP3 HBCU Challenge in Las Vegas.

Houston: Faces Texas A&M on Dec. 16 at Toyota Center in Houston.


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