Rachal, Tulsa overthrows Houston No. 5

Brandon Rachal pocketed two free throws with 0.1 seconds remaining, and hosts Tulsa Golden Hurricane beat fifth-placed Houston Cougars 65-64 in their matchup at the American Athletic Conference Tuesday.

Rachal hit a season high of 22 points with eight rebounds and finished the free-throw line 8-8 when Tulsa (5-3, 2-1 AAC) beat a top-five team for the first time since defeating UCLA in November. 20, 1996.

Caleb Mills sank a baseline jumper for the lead with a 6.3 second lead for Houston (7-1, 2-1). But Rachal attacked the basket in subsequent possession and pulled a foul on Cougars center Brison Gresham, which messed up the game.

Rachal paced up and down on points and rebounds and was the only Tulsa player to get double-digit results. While Tulsa finished 18 out of 22 on the line, Houston missed 11 out of 31.

Quentin Grimes led Houston with 19 points and seven boards, while Marcus Sasser dropped 14 points and Mills dropped 11. The Cougars only shot 4 out of 21 with 3 pointers.

Tulsa led by up to six points in the second half, but its offensive fights allowed the Cougars to stick together. Houston went without a field goal for more than three minutes until Sasser converted a second chance basket that knotted the game by 50 seconds at 62-62.

Tulsa survived the first volley in Houston, an 8-0 rally with a Jarreau three-point game, as the Cougars took an early 15-4 lead.

The Hurricane responded with an 11-0 lightning bolt, detonated by a Rachal-Trey at the 13:10 mark of the first half and capped by the second of three 3-pointers of the first half by Curtis Haywood II, all nine his points previously scored at break.

But the Hurricane, which took the lead 4:50 with no field goal during the Cougars run, slumped again with a 4:14 drought that Haywood snapped with a 3-pointer at 4:34.

Emboldened, the hurricane held out the Cougars’ tough defenses for the remainder of the half, eventually taking the lead at 27-26 with 1:59 on a Darien Jackson 3-pointer.

Tulsa took a 31-30 lead at break when Elijah Joiner hit the buzzer with a layup that appeared to hit every part of the rim.

The Hurricane ended halftime converting three consecutive field goals while Houston, missing 10 of 11 3, went 1 to 7.

– Field level media

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