The third-place game of the Maui Invitational turned into a blowout quickly, as No.12 Houston took advantage of another first half of frigid shooting from Oregon and cruised to a 78-49 win in Las Vegas.
Fabian White Jr. had 13 of his 15 points in the first half, then wasn’t needed for offense in the second half as the Cougars roared to a 41-19 halftime lead and went up by as many as 34 points early in the second half.
Marcus Sasser added 14 points and Josh Carlton 13 for Houston. Eric Williams Jr. led Oregon with 13 points.
Houston (5-1) was the better team in all phases but was particularly effective with its aggressiveness and hustle. The Cougars got to loose balls faster, took the ball to the basket with authority and forced the Ducks (3-3) to settle for jump shots without many offensive rebounds.
Houston was able to bounce back after a 65-63 loss to Wisconsin on Tuesday. Oregon, after a rough first half on offense against Chaminade Monday and even more so against Saint Mary’s on Tuesday, struggled again in the first half, fell behind by a lot and was never able to recover.
In the Ducks’ three losses this season, the pattern has been the same: Missed shots, tentative play and first-half deficits big enough to be too much to overcome.
An early 10-0 Cougars run set the tone, as Oregon went three minutes without a point during the stretch. Later, White scored eight unanswered points on his own, knocking down back-to-back 3-pointers to give Houston a 35-14 lead with 3:32 left in the first half.
The Ducks, who scored 15 points in the first half against Saint Mary’s, managed 19 in the first half against Houston and shot just 30 percent, while the Cougars made 52 percent of their shots.
Oregon got a scare when two of their top players, Quincy Guerrier and De’Vion Harmon, collided on a play early in the second half. Both left the game but were able to return. Harmon was checked for a concussion.
A 12-0 Houston run to start the second half made it 53-19 and put to rest any hope the Ducks had of coming back.
All games in the Maui Invitational were moved to Las Vegas this year due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
–Field Level Media
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