UA point guard Mustafa Shakur led the way for
Ivan Radenovic added a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds, forwards Marcus Williams and Chase Budinger added 15 apiece and guard Jawann McClellan hit for 10. Williams also doubled, with a game-high 12 rebounds, his second consecutive double-double.
The Cats’ rebounding determined the game, with a season-high 58 boards, doubling the Cougars’ 26 and then some.
UA led by eight at the half, 41-33, and went on a little 8-3 run to give it some room opening the second half, and then added another spurt to give the Cats some real operating room.
Budinger made UH pay for a full-court press with a dunk off a deep lead pass to give UA a 45-35 lead, then Shakur hit a layup to make it by 12 just three minutes into the second half.
The Cats ran the break off a defensive rebound, with Williams jamming one home for a 14-point lead, before Dion Dowell hit a three to stop the run.
The Cats took it inside for a Budinger layup, then a steal led to a McClellan pass to Shakur, who bounced it off the backboard to lead a throw-down dunk by Marcus Williams for a 57-40 lead at the 14:43 mark.
Nine minutes later, UA inside reserve, Jordan Hill, laid one in for his fourth point and a UA 72-50 lead, and the game was not in question.
The first half was give and take, although
McClellan’s put-back pushed UA to an early 8-6 lead the Cats did not relinquish. Then Radenovic blocked a shot by Lanny Smith in the paint at the other end and drained a three-pointer at the other end, and another one a minute later to make it 14-6 with 15 minutes to go.
Jahmar Thorpe answered with a dunk, and after a Budinger jumper, Smith hit a layup to cut the lead to 16-10. Dion Dowell followed a McClellan turnover with a three to make it 16-13.
Radenovic and Marcus Williams worked a give-and-go at the 13-minute mark to give UA a 20-13 lead, but Houston’s Robert McKiver hit a bucket inside and the teams traded a few more buckets, breaking at the 12-minute media timeout with Arizona leading 22-17.
McKiver scored a pair of buckets over the next several minutes to cut the lead to 24-23 before Williams laid it in to stop a brief UA drought and give UA a slim three-point edge at a 6:46 timeout.
Radenovic followed a UH turnover with another pair of free throws to give UA a 10-point lead, 33-23, at the 3:30 mark.
Oliver Lafayette hit a rainbow three to cut the lead, but Budinger nailed an open three inside the two-minute mark to push the lead back to double digits, 36-26. Shakur hit two free throws to increase it to 12 before Malone drained a three, and Dowell hit a free throw to cut it to eight, 38-30. The shots were
Shakur hit a driving spin move inside the last 20 seconds of the half.