The win was additionally the two hundredth for Sampson in his career because the Houston Cougars’ head coach.
HOUSTON — Marcus Sasser scored 21 factors, J’Wan Roberts added 12 factors and 6 rebounds, and No. 3 Houston opened the season with an 83-36 win over Northern Colorado on Monday night time.
Sasser, a preseason All-American, scored 11 factors within the first half. He completed 7 of 14 from the sphere and made 4 of 8 3-pointers. The senior guard missed the second half of final season and all of Houston’s run to the Elite Eight with a toe damage.
“It was exciting, fun, a lot of emotions really,” Sasser mentioned. “It’s been almost 11 months since I have been out there with this group of guys. Being out there with them tonight, it was real fun and exciting to see all the hard work we’ve been putting in since June pay off.”
Houston coach Kelvin Sampson won his 700th career game and two hundredth with the Cougars.
RELATED: UH males’s basketball ranked the best it is since 1983 in preseason AP Top 25
“It’s been a wonderful journey,” Sampson mentioned. “I have so many people to thank.”
Emanuel Sharp scored 11 factors, Jamal Shead had 9 factors and 9 assists, and Jarace Walker had eight factors and 12 rebounds for Houston. The Cougars shot 44% and have been 11 of 29 on 3-pointers.
“Everything we do is accountability,” Sampson mentioned. “I do not say that’s OK. There is accountability. Our standards, our expectations, our accountability. It starts with our defense. We’re not always going to shoot well. That’s OK. Most teams don’t shoot well against us either.”
The Cougars, who began the season with their highest rating because the 1967-68 crew started at No. 2, have gained 14 straight openers.
Matt Johnson II, Riley Abercrombie and Caleb Shaw every scored eight factors for the Bears. Daylen Kountz, who averaged 22.1 factors per recreation final season, completed with three factors. Northern Colorado shot 26% and went 5 of 21 on 3-pointers.
RELATED: AP sources: Big 12 agrees to 6-year extension with ESPN, Fox
“For us, we’re still a developing team figuring out how to score,” Northern Colorado coach Steve Smiley mentioned. “When you look at the box score, guys that need to score starting with Daylen … he didn’t make a shot tonight.”
Houston completed the primary half on a 10-2 run to open a 32-13 lead on a 3-pointer by Sasser. The 13 factors have been the second-fewest allowed in a primary half at school historical past. The Cougars gave up 12 to UConn on Dec. 28, 2016.
Northern Colorado: The Bears, who have been picked to complete second within the Big Sky, held their very own towards Houston for a lot of the primary half on the defensive finish however struggled to do a lot offensively. The Cougars’ dimension and athleticism have been an excessive amount of for Bears.
“I think there’s a lot more good than bad that came out of the game,” Smiley mentioned. “The final score, the last three, four minutes where it just breaks open, kind of disguises that we definitely battled. We got a long ways to go. We’re nowhere near being able to compete at that level right now, but I do think that we showed a lot of good things.”
Houston: The Cougars have been sluggish to begin and had points breaking Northern Colorado’s zone for many of the first half. Rebounding and protection proceed to be staples for the Cougars, who outrebounded the Bears 43-31 and compelled 23 turnovers, which they transformed into 27 factors.
“We always have a game plan, defensive strategy, scheme,” Sampson mentioned. “We just always hang our hat on defense here. There’s three things that allowed us to be successful year in, year out regardless of what team it is: We defend, we rebound and we take care of the ball.”
Sampson, the thirty third Division I coach to achieve 700 victories, has a 700-340 total file and is 200-70 in 9 seasons with Houston. He was offered a recreation ball to commemorate the win and a video of former gamers congratulating him was proven.
Northern Colorado: Hosts Texas A&M-Commerce on Friday.
Houston: Faces St. Joseph’s in Annapolis, Maryland, on Friday as a part of the Veteran’s Classic.