The madness may be two months away, but the Houston Cougars are becoming part of college basketball's national storyline this season. In easily handling the Tigers Sunday at their shiny new arena, the Cougars extended their home winning streak to 28 games to remain one of only three undefeated teams in the country (along with Michigan and Virginia). Houston (15-0) led from start to finish to end the Tigers' four-game winning streak and drop Memphis to 9-6 for the season and 1-1 in the American Athletic Conference.
Armoni Brooks led the way for Houston with 22 points, draining three-pointers (a total of six) whenever the Tigers seemed to be closing in. Nate Hinton added 19 off the Cougar bench.
Senior forward Kyvon Davenport
spurred a Tiger comeback early in the second half with eight straight points. But Memphis never reduced the lead below four points (50-46) and finished with its lowest point total since Thanksgiving weekend. Davenport finished the contest with 17 points and Kareem Brewton
added a career-high 25, also off the Memphis bench. Jeremiah Martin
scored 16 points for the Tigers, but the freshman trio of Tyler Harris, Alex Lomax, and Antwann Jones combined for just seven.
Memphis shot 48 percent from the field but committed 17 turnovers, a factor in Houston taking 21 more shots in the game. The Cougars shot 45 percent and hit 12 treys (to the Tigers' eight).
Houston does not play in Memphis in the regular season, so the teams will not meet again unless they're matched against one another in the AAC tournament (at FedExForum) in March.
The Tigers return home Thursday night to host East Carolina (8-6, 1-1). Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m.