AP

No. 3 Houston overcomes slick floor, beats Saint Joe’s 81-55

Nov 11, 2022, 3:31 AM | Updated: 6:51 pm

Saint Joseph's guard Christian Winborne drives to the basket against Houston guard Marcus Sasser (0...

Saint Joseph's guard Christian Winborne drives to the basket against Houston guard Marcus Sasser (0) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Veterans Classic, Friday, Nov. 11, 2022, in Annapolis, Md. (AP Photo/Terrance Williams)

(AP Photo/Terrance Williams)

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Jarace Walker scored 23 points and No. 3 Houston overcame a slippery floor to beat Saint Joseph’s 81-55 Friday night in the Veterans Classic.

J’Wan Roberts added 19 points and 12 rebounds for the Cougars (2-0), who have yet to trail this season.

Houston’s biggest obstacle was the slick floor conditions that emerged in the first half and eventually forced a brief delay in the second half. At nearly every stoppage of play after the break, team managers, security personnel and ball boys were tasked with wiping the floor in several locations.

Cougars coach Kelvin Sampson said referee Pat Driscoll suggested calling the game during the final media timeout with 3:24 remaining.

“I didn’t think it had risen to that level, but I didn’t want any of their kids to get hurt,” Sampson said. “We both have long seasons. I certainly didn’t want any of our kids to get hurt, but I didn’t think it was at the point where we needed to call it.”

Erik Reynolds II scored a team-high 17 points for Saint Joseph’s (0-1), which lost in coach Billy Lange’s first game at Alumni Hall since concluding a seven-season stint at Navy in 2011.

Lange said he did not believe the second-half departures of guard Cameron Brown and forward Rasheer Fleming were related to the floor. Brown experienced cramping after colliding with a defender on a layup attempt. Fleming landed on someone’s foot after going up for an offensive rebound. Neither player returned.

Lange said he wanted to complete the game to ensure the Cougars were credited with a victory.

“To postpone a game when a team’s up 26 points, they’re going to win the game,” Lange said. “They’re a national championship-aspiration program, and that’s real this year. It’s very, very real.

“To play and not get a win, I just thought it was not the right decision to make. And I think we’re going to be good, so it could end up being a really quality win for them.”

Houston bolted to leads of 12-2 and 34-11 and was never seriously threatened. The Cougars held a 15-1 advantage in points off turnovers in the first half and took a 46-26 lead into the break.

Walker shot 10 of 14 from the floor and grabbed eight rebounds in his second career game after scoring eight points on 3 of 14 shooting in Monday’s rout of Northern Colorado.

“He had 23 points tonight,” Sampson said. “That’s great. I don’t think anybody in our program is going to ask for his autograph because of that. He had eight rebounds, but how about getting 18 rebounds? Because he’s capable. We’re just going to keep challenging our guys. I don’t want them to ever be satisfied.”

Houston guard Marcus Sasser, an Associated Press preseason first team All-America pick, had seven points on 2 of 9 shooting.

BIG PICTURE

Houston: In what is likely to become a frequent refrain this season, the Cougars overwhelmed an opponent with their length and athleticism on defense and their crisp passing at the offensive end.

Saint Joseph’s: The Hawks have six newcomers, and this was a difficult way for a relatively inexperienced roster to begin the season. Saint Joseph’s was picked to finish 13th in the 15-team Atlantic 10, and has some work to do before conference play begins Dec. 31.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

With a pair of victories this week, Houston will remain in the top five for another week. Its first high-profile test awaits Nov. 20 at No. 21 Oregon.

UP NEXT

Houston plays host to Oral Roberts on Monday.

Saint Joseph’s welcomes Lafayette to Philadelphia for its home opener Monday.

____

More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

1 year ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

1 year ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

1 year ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

1 year ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

1 year ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

1 year ago

No. 3 Houston overcomes slick floor, beats Saint Joe’s 81-55