Brooks, Hinton lead Houston past No. 18 Oregon 65-61
HOUSTON (AP) — The Houston Cougars opened their new home with a big victory.
Armoni Brooks had 22 points and nine rebounds, Nate Hinton added 14 points and Houston won its 20th straight home game, 65-61 over 18th-ranked Oregon on Saturday night.
Brooks was 7 of 14 from the field, including 6 of 13 on 3-pointers, to lead Houston (6-0), which shot 33 percent from the field.
Corey Davis had 12 points for Houston, which opened its new $60 million Fertitta Center. The Cougars’ previous 19 straight home wins came at Texas Southern’s H&PE Arena, their temporary home while the new arena was under construction.
“There’s always one first night, one opening night,” Houston coach Kelvin Sampson said, adding that with the recent facility upgrades at Houston, “We can play big-time basketball. . We are knocking on the door, and these facilities are going to help us.”
Bol Bol had 23 points and seven rebounds and Will Richardson added 16 points for the Ducks (4-3), who lost their second straight after falling at home to Texas Southern on Monday. Oregon shot 40 percent from the field.
“We have a lot of work to do,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said. “We are not a very good basketball team, so we have a lot of work to do.”
Trailing by 14, Oregon used an 11-2 run to close within 62-57 on Bol’s three-point play with 38 seconds left. After Brooks missed two free throws, Richardson connected on two free throws to cut the lead to three with 23 seconds left. Cedrick Alley connected on 1 of 2 free throws before Bol followed with a dunk to cut the lead to two with 10 seconds left, but then Brooks hit two free throws to ice the win.
“When a team’s coming back on you, most time it’s due to your contribution,” Sampson said. “We were turning the ball over and missing free throws, so my thought was don’t turn the ball over and make your free throws. That was about it.”
Houston jumped out to a 37-18 lead at the half behind 14 points each from Brooks and Hinton. The Cougars used an 18-3 run over a five-minute stretch to open up a 33-13 lead on Hinton’s 3-pointer with 3:43 left in the half. Brooks had six points in the run to lead the Cougars.
“When I made the first couple three’s, my teammates were just telling me to just shoot it,” Brooks said. “When your teammates have confidence in you, it gives yourself tremendous confidence.”
Oregon struggled in the first half, shooting 6 of 19 with 10 turnovers.
“We froze,” Altman said of the first half. “We were awful. No transition points, points off turnovers they had a big advantage, second chance points 9-0. It was an awful half. We were down by 19, it was just bad half of basketball. Second half, we turned all three of those categories around. . When you dig a hole 19 down, it’s hard to come back.”
Bol, Richardson and Kenny Wooten combined for the Ducks’ 18 first-half points. Oregon hit 6 of 26 3-pointers.
Houston got a win against a Power Five team to help its resume early in the season. The Cougars continued to struggle from long distance, going 9 for 35, but connected on 18 of 23 from the free-throw line.
With two losses this week, Oregon will likely drop out of the AP Top 25. Houston, which had one vote in this week’s poll, should receive more votes.
The Fertitta Center is named after Houston Rockets owner and University of Houston system board of regents chairman Tilman Fertitta, who made a $20 million gift in August 2016. Fertitta, who briefly spoke pregame, delivered the game ball and gave it to the official scorer with a behind-the-back pass from the middle of the court.
Oregon plays the first of four straight games at home starting Dec. 8 against Nebraska-Omaha.
Houston hosts Lamar on Tuesday.