HOUSTON (AP) Houston coach Kelvin Sampson said the Cougars knew what they were capable of.
Follow Sunday night’s win over LSU, the rest of the nation saw what Houston can do, too.
Rob Gray Jr. scored 11 of his career-high 31 points in overtime to lead Houston to a 105-98 victory over LSU.
Gray was 10 of 19 from the field and hit all nine of his free throws.
Danrad Knowles had 20 points, and Damyean Dotson added 13 points and 10 rebounds for Houston (6-1).
”This was a big win for us for a lot of reasons,” Sampson said. ”We have a program that is young, and we are developing it. We are building it brick by brick. . Obviously, we spent a lot of time preparing for (Ben) Simmons. I thought we did a good job on Simmons.”
Keith Hornsby led the Tigers (4-4) with a career-high 32 points on 10-of-17 shooting, including 6 of 10 from behind the arc in his season debut after returning from surgery in early November.
”It was a good offensive night for me, but I’m not going to be happy if we lose,” Hornsby said.
Simmons had 13 points and 14 rebounds, and Tim Quarterman added 27 points with 10 rebounds for LSU.
”We knew coming here after being off 11 days, we would have to play extremely well,” LSU coach Johnny Jones said. ”We scored enough to win – 98 points -we just didn’t do enough on the defensive end.”
Houston opened overtime with a 10-2 spurt, capped by a Galen Robinson Jr. jumper, and the Cougars led 94-86.
”We moved on to the next play,” Gray said. ”Once he hit the shot, regulation is pretty much over, so we knew we had to win it in overtime. That’s where we started preparing ourselves to get ready.”
Quarterman made a 3 to pull the Tigers to 97-94 with 53 seconds remaining. Robinson made one of two free throws, and Dotson forced a turnover and Devonta Pollard scored on a dunk with 26 seconds left to seal it.
Dotson split a pair of free throws to give the Cougars a two-point lead with 26 seconds left in regulation. Quarterman missed a jumper and Antonio Blakeney missed a tip-in. Pollard grabbed the rebound, was fouled and hit one of two free throws with 14 seconds remaining.
Hornsby drilled a 3 with seven seconds left to tie it at 84-all. Gray’s 3-point attempt hit the rim and sent the game to overtime.
After the Cougars pushed their lead to 11 to start the second half, LSU answered with a 16-2 run. Hornsby made a 3-pointer to cap the surge and the Tigers led 52-51 with 15 minutes remaining.
”It is a great win for us outside our locker room,” Sampson said. ”Inside our locker room, we have a game to prepare for Wednesday night, but outside our locker room, people will talk about this nationally and within our city. This will give us a big bump.”
LSU: Aaron Epps had 12 points. . Ben Simmons had his sixth straight double-double and seventh of the season. . The Tigers’ bench held a 73-49 advantage over Houston’s bench. . LSU opened the game shooting 11 of 18 before going 0 for 8 from the field in the final 7:30 of the first half.
Houston: Devonta Pollard finished with 10 points and six rebounds. . Galen Robinson Jr. had nine points and five assists. . The Cougars outrebounded LSU 46-33 and held a 20-8 advantage on second-chance points. . Houston was 26 of 39 from the free-throw line.
LSU hosts Garner-Webb on Wednesday.
Houston hosts North Carolina Central on Wednesday.
LSU allowed 100 points in back-to-back contests for the first time since Dec. 20-22, 1990 when the Tigers allowed 114 points in a win over Loyola-Marymount before allowing 102 points in a loss to Illinois. … Houston scored 100 points for the second time this season after scoring 110 in a win over Prairie View Nov. 18.