HOUSTON (AP) L.J. Cryer scored 20 points, Damian Dunn added 14 points and No. 3 Houston improved to 14-0 with an 89-55 win over West Virginia in the Cougars’ inaugural Big 12 contest on Saturday.

Cryer scored 16 points in the first half on 6-of-7 shooting, including four 3-pointers, as Houston shot 58% as a team and took a 48-22 lead into halftime. Cryer has scored at least 20 points in five games this season.

“We focused on defense, and I felt like we were going to get out into transition and get easier shots,” Cryer said. “Just being locked in on defense will make you dialed in on offense. I felt like because I was defensive focused today that’s why the ball was going in.”

Ja’Vier Francis had 13 points and five rebounds, and Jamal Shead had eight points and 11 assists for Houston, which shot 53% overall, including 9 of 18 on 3-pointers.

Houston coach Kelvin Sampson said the first Big 12 conference game didn’t feel any different to him.

“We wanted to win for sure, and there’s an excitement about playing our first conference game,” Sampson said. “Now we go play our second one. I don’t spend a lot of time with the hoopla stuff.”

Houston extended its home winning streak to 14 games. The Cougars improved to 14-0 for the third time in school history, joining the 1967-68 and 2018-19 teams.

The Cougars forced 12 turnovers and turned them into 14 points. Houston also had a 48-20 advantage in points in the paint.

“We had a really good plan against their zone,” Sampson said. “We knew exactly how we wanted to attack their man-to-man (defense), and then, when they went zone, we just flowed right into what we had worked on. Our kids are unselfish. Everybody understands their role, buys into it and accepts it. Our defense got us going early, and we fed off that.”

Patrick Suemnick had 12 points and five rebounds and Noah Farrakhan added nine points for West Virginia (5-9, 0-1 Big 12). The Mountaineers shot 32% and were 4 of 23 on 3-pointers.

RaeQuan Battle, who had led the Mountaineers with 27 points per game, finished with four points on 1-of-9 shooting.

“That was an impressive performance defensively,” West Virginia interim coach Josh Eilert said of Houston. “I thought we could maybe create some advantages in the game play, but they did a masterful job defensively in their game plan in terms of what they did to us and what they took us out of.”


West Virginia: The 22 first half points were the fewest points the Mountaineers have scored in a first half this season and tied for the fewest points they have scored in any half this season.

Houston: J’Wan Roberts returned after missing the last game Dec. 30 against Penn with a knee injury. He scored nine points. … Entering Saturday, Houston joined No. 19 James Madison and No. 22 Mississippi as the only remaining undefeated teams.


West Virginia: Hosts Kansas State on Tuesday.

Houston: Travels to Iowa State on Tuesday.


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