Advertisement

3 keys to No. 4 Houston’s 75-68 win over No. 21 BYU in a Big 12 battle at the Marriott Center

Brigham Young Cougars guard Spencer Johnson (20) drives on Houston Cougars guard Jamal Shead (1) as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024.
Brigham Young Cougars guard Spencer Johnson (20) drives on Houston Cougars guard Jamal Shead (1) as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Houston shot a blistering 43.5% from the 3-point line and got 23 points from Baylor transfer LJ Cryer to beat BYU 75-68 Tuesday night at the Marriott Center.

The No. 21 Cougars dropped to 14-5 overall, 2-4 in the Big 12 with their second straight loss.

No. 4 Houston led by as many as 13 points in the second half, but BYU rallied back and tied it on a Noah Waterman 3-pointer with 2:15 left.

However, the red Cougars made seven of eight free throws in the final two minutes to secure the win, while BYU failed to score on its final five possessions.

Here are 3 keys to Houston’s victory in front of 16,553 at the Marriott Center:

BYU guard Dallin Hall (30) goes under the hoop with Houston Cougars forward Ja’Vier Francis (5) defending him as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. Houston won 75-68. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
BYU guard Dallin Hall (30) goes under the hoop with Houston Cougars forward Ja’Vier Francis (5) defending him as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. Houston won 75-68. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Houston Cougars forward Ja’Vier Francis (5) battles Brigham Young Cougars center Aly Khalifa (50) and Brigham Young Cougars guard Richie Saunders (15) for the ball as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Houston Cougars forward Ja’Vier Francis (5) battles Brigham Young Cougars center Aly Khalifa (50) and Brigham Young Cougars guard Richie Saunders (15) for the ball as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars guard Spencer Johnson (20) drives on Houston Cougars guard Jamal Shead (1) as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024.
Brigham Young Cougars guard Spencer Johnson (20) drives on Houston Cougars guard Jamal Shead (1) as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars guard Richie Saunders (15) spins toward the hoop with Houston Cougars guard Emanuel Sharp (21) defending as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars guard Richie Saunders (15) spins toward the hoop with Houston Cougars guard Emanuel Sharp (21) defending as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars guard Jaxson Robinson (2) drives on Houston Cougars forward Ja’Vier Francis (5) as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars guard Jaxson Robinson (2) drives on Houston Cougars forward Ja’Vier Francis (5) as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars forward Atiki Ally Atiki (4) catches a pass for a dunk and is fouled by Houston Cougars guard Damian Dunn (11) as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars forward Atiki Ally Atiki (4) catches a pass for a dunk and is fouled by Houston Cougars guard Damian Dunn (11) as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars forward Atiki Ally Atiki (4) drives on Houston Cougars forward Joseph Tugler (25) as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars forward Atiki Ally Atiki (4) drives on Houston Cougars forward Joseph Tugler (25) as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Houston Cougars players and coaches celebrate after a 3-point shot as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. Houston won 75-68. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Houston Cougars players and coaches celebrate after a 3-point shot as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. Houston won 75-68. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars guard Jaxson Robinson (2) flips up a shot as he slips past Houston Cougars forward Ja’Vier Francis (5) as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. Houston won 75-68. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars guard Jaxson Robinson (2) flips up a shot as he slips past Houston Cougars forward Ja’Vier Francis (5) as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. Houston won 75-68. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
BYU forward Noah Waterman shoots during a game against No. 4 Houston at the Marriott Center in Provo, Jan. 23, 2024.
Brigham Young Cougars forward Noah Waterman (0) shoots over Houston Cougars guard L.J. Cryer (4) as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. Houston won 75-68. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars guard Spencer Johnson (20) and Brigham Young Cougars center Aly Khalifa (50) sit dejected on the bench as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. Houston won 75-68.
Brigham Young Cougars guard Spencer Johnson (20) and Brigham Young Cougars center Aly Khalifa (50) sit dejected on the bench as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. Houston won 75-68. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
A young Brigham Young Cougars fan enjoys the game as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. Houston won 75-68. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
A young Brigham Young Cougars fan enjoys the game as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. Houston won 75-68. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars forward Fousseyni Traore (45) works against Houston Cougars guard Jamal Shead (1) as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. Houston won 75-68. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars forward Fousseyni Traore (45) works against Houston Cougars guard Jamal Shead (1) as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. Houston won 75-68. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars center Aly Khalifa (50) takes a pass over Houston Cougars guard Jamal Shead (1) as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. Houston won 75-68. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars center Aly Khalifa (50) takes a pass over Houston Cougars guard Jamal Shead (1) as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. Houston won 75-68. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Houston Cougars guard Mylik Wilson (8) looks and reaches for the ball with teammate Houston Cougars forward Ja’Vier Francis (5) and Brigham Young Cougars center Aly Khalifa (50) looking on as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. Houston won 75-68. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Houston Cougars guard Mylik Wilson (8) looks and reaches for the ball with teammate Houston Cougars forward Ja’Vier Francis (5) and Brigham Young Cougars center Aly Khalifa (50) looking on as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. Houston won 75-68. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars guard Richie Saunders (15) fouls Houston Cougars guard L.J. Cryer (4) in the corner as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. Houston won 75-68. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars guard Richie Saunders (15) fouls Houston Cougars guard L.J. Cryer (4) in the corner as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. Houston won 75-68. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars forward Atiki Ally Atiki (4) and Brigham Young Cougars guards Richie Saunders (15) and Spencer Johnson (20) cheer after a basket as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. Houston won 75-68. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars forward Atiki Ally Atiki (4) and Brigham Young Cougars guards Richie Saunders (15) and Spencer Johnson (20) cheer after a basket as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. Houston won 75-68. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars students try to disrupt Houston Cougars forward J’Wan Roberts (13) as he shoots a free throw as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. Houston won 75-68. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars students try to disrupt Houston Cougars forward J’Wan Roberts (13) as he shoots a free throw as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. Houston won 75-68. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars forward Fousseyni Traore (45) reaches out for the ball with Houston Cougars guard Damian Dunn (11) defending as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. Houston won 75-68. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars forward Fousseyni Traore (45) reaches out for the ball with Houston Cougars guard Damian Dunn (11) defending as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. Houston won 75-68. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars guard Trevin Knell (21) sits on the bench after fouling out of the game as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. Houston won 75-68. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars guard Trevin Knell (21) sits on the bench after fouling out of the game as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. Houston won 75-68. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Houston Cougars guard Emanuel Sharp (21) reacts after Brigham Young Cougars guard Trevin Knell (21) was called for a foul as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. Houston won 75-68. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Houston Cougars guard Emanuel Sharp (21) reacts after Brigham Young Cougars guard Trevin Knell (21) was called for a foul as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. Houston won 75-68. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars guards Trevin Knell (21) and Richie Saunders (15) battle Houston Cougars forwards Ja’Vier Francis (5) and J’Wan Roberts (13) as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. Houston won 75-68. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars guards Trevin Knell (21) and Richie Saunders (15) battle Houston Cougars forwards Ja’Vier Francis (5) and J’Wan Roberts (13) as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. Houston won 75-68. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
A Brigham Young Cougars cheerleader looks into a phone for a video during a timeout as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. Houston won 75-68. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
A Brigham Young Cougars cheerleader looks into a phone for a video during a timeout as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. Houston won 75-68. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars guard Richie Saunders (15) tries to defend Houston Cougars guard Jamal Shead (1) as he goes at the hoop as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. Houston won 75-68. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars guard Richie Saunders (15) tries to defend Houston Cougars guard Jamal Shead (1) as he goes at the hoop as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. Houston won 75-68. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars students take selfies in the stands as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. Houston won 75-68. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars students take selfies in the stands as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. Houston won 75-68. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Houston Cougars guard Emanuel Sharp (21) is called for a foul on Brigham Young Cougars forward Noah Waterman (0) as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Houston Cougars guard Emanuel Sharp (21) is called for a foul on Brigham Young Cougars forward Noah Waterman (0) as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars forward Noah Waterman (0) signals a 3-point make as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars forward Noah Waterman (0) signals a 3-point make as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars guard Dallin Hall (30) goes at the hoop with Houston Cougars forward Ja’Vier Francis (5) defending as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars guard Dallin Hall (30) goes at the hoop with Houston Cougars forward Ja’Vier Francis (5) defending as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars guard Richie Saunders (15) is fouled on his way to the hoop as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars guard Richie Saunders (15) is fouled on his way to the hoop as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
BYU guard Richie Saunders reacts after dropping in a shot as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo, Jan. 23, 2024.
Brigham Young Cougars guard Richie Saunders (15) reacts after dropping in a shot as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars guard Richie Saunders (15) drives to hoop on Houston Cougars forward Joseph Tugler (25) as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars guard Richie Saunders (15) drives to hoop on Houston Cougars forward Joseph Tugler (25) as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars guard Richie Saunders (15) and teammates watch the action from the bench as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars guard Richie Saunders (15) and teammates watch the action from the bench as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars guard Richie Saunders (15) claps as he watches from the bench as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars guard Richie Saunders (15) claps as he watches from the bench as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars forward Atiki Ally Atiki (4) looks for an open teammate as he is defended by Houston Cougars forward Joseph Tugler (25) as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars forward Atiki Ally Atiki (4) looks for an open teammate as he is defended by Houston Cougars forward Joseph Tugler (25) as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars center Aly Khalifa (50) and Brigham Young Cougars guard Richie Saunders (15) battle Houston Cougars forward Joseph Tugler (25) as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars center Aly Khalifa (50) and Brigham Young Cougars guard Richie Saunders (15) battle Houston Cougars forward Joseph Tugler (25) as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Houston Cougars forward Ja’Vier Francis (5) battles Brigham Young Cougars center Aly Khalifa (50) and Brigham Young Cougars guard Richie Saunders (15) for the ball as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Houston Cougars forward Ja’Vier Francis (5) battles Brigham Young Cougars center Aly Khalifa (50) and Brigham Young Cougars guard Richie Saunders (15) for the ball as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars forwards Noah Waterman (0) and Atiki Ally Atiki (4) defend Houston Cougars guard Emanuel Sharp (21) as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars forwards Noah Waterman (0) and Atiki Ally Atiki (4) defend Houston Cougars guard Emanuel Sharp (21) as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
BYU coach Mark Pope calls out instructions as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024.
Brigham Young Cougars head coach Mark Pope calls out instructions as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars guard Richie Saunders (15) and teammates watch the action from the bench as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars guard Richie Saunders (15) and teammates watch the action from the bench as BYU and Houston play at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

• Houston converted 13 BYU turnovers into 17 points and also had 15 second-chance points off 15 offensive rebounds. The red Cougars went 17 of 24 from the free-throw line, while BYU got to the line for just 10 free throws, making seven.

• BYU was supposed to be the better 3-point shooting team, but Houston melted the Marriott Center rims from deep, particularly in the first half. Houston built its 41-34 halftime lead by going 6 of 12 from 3-point range, while BYU was 6 of 18 in the first 20 minutes.

Houston finished 10 of 23 from deep, while BYU was 11 of 38.

• The lead got away from the blue Cougars late in the first half when they went the final seven minutes of the half with just two field goals — layups by Aly Khalifa and Dallin Hall. Hall and Trevin Knell were whistled for three fouls apiece in the first half, severely crimping BYU’s attack before the break.

Knell eventually fouled out, but not before missing a wide open 3-point attempt with 45 seconds left when Houston had a 69-68 lead.