HOUSTON (AP) Emanuel Sharp scored 17 points, Ja’Vier Francis added 13 and No. 3 Houston beat Texas State 72-37 Thursday night.

Houston is one of three remaining undefeated teams, along with James Madison (11-0) and Ole Miss (11-0).

Houston improved to 12-0 for the third time in school history, joining the Cougar teams from 2018-19 and 1967-68. Houston also has a 12-game home winning streak dating to last season.

“Unbelievable,” Houston coach Kelvin Sampson said about Houston’s defense. “Our defense was really, really good the first half, but in the second half, it was even better. It’s hard to hold teams like this to 37 points.”

Jamal Shead also scored 11 points for Houston, which shot 43%, but struggled from long range, making 4 of 19 3-pointers.

The Cougars forced Texas State into a season-high 27 turnovers and converted those miscues into 27 points. The turnovers were also a season high for most turnovers Houston has forced.

“To turn a team over – 27 turnovers – and to do it for 40 minutes, a lot of teams in a game like tonight, it would have been a 10 or 15-point game the way we shot it, but we win by 35 because of our defense,” Sampson said. “That’s the defense. As you march across your season no matter who you play, you’re not going to have a lot of 80-point nights. … Your defense can be there every night.”

Kaden Gumbs scored seven points to lead Texas State (6-6). The Bobcats shot 29%, including 2 of 15 on 3-pointers.

“This is clearly the best defensive team in the country,” Texas State coach Terrence Johnson said. “We knew we were going to have some (turnovers). We thought we could see the reads a little clearer.

“Man, it’s hard to emulate this defense and the way they rotate and the physicality and tenacity they play with in practice. When you get out there, some things you have to adjust to, and we weren’t able to tonight.”

Leading 18-14 with six minutes remaining in the first half, Houston outscored the Bobcats 11-4 to take a 29-18 lead into halftime. L.J. Cryer had seven points in the run.

The Cougars opened the second half with a 20-4 run that extended their lead to 49-22 with 13 minutes remaining.


Texas State: The Bobcats entered averaging 13 turnovers per game, but had turned it over 16 times at the half. … Texas State dropped to 11-82 all-time against current Big 12 members.

Houston: The Cougars kept a team under 20 points in a half eight times this season after holding Texas State under the mark in both halves. … Houston continued to be a force defensively, but also got it done in the paint, outscoring Texas State 42-18 in points in the paint.


Texas State: Travels to James Madison on Dec. 30 to open Sun Belt Conference play.

Houston: Hosts Penn on Dec. 30 before beginning Big 12 Conference play Jan. 6 against West Virginia.


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