In a second half featuring a flurry of technical fouls, No. 22 Houston used a 16-0 run to put away visiting Tulsa 76-43 on Wednesday.
Houston (21-6, 11-3 American Athletic Conference) extended a six-point halftime lead to double digits just moments out of the locker room when Caleb Mills scored the Cougars' first 19 points of the second half. Mills finished with 27 points.
His offensive eruption preceded a flaring of emotions. First, Tulsa (17-9, 9-4) lost coach Frank Haith, who was hit with a pair of technical fouls in a matter of seconds.
Five seconds after Haith's ejection, Martins Igbanu knocked over Houston's Fabian White Jr. during a dead ball, resulting in some shoving between the two teams. Tulsa's Elijah Joiner was ejected after the scrape, and Igbanu and White were both assessed technical fouls.
Frustration boiled over for a Tulsa team that shot just 34.8 percent from the floor on the night, including 4 of 20 from 3-point range, and committed 16 turnovers.
The Golden Hurricane went without scoring a point for almost four minutes during the decisive stretch midway through the second half. They also scored just three points in the final 5:24.
Houston, meanwhile, converted Tulsa's turnovers into 18 points. The Cougars also successfully created transition opportunities, scoring 15 fastbreak points to just five for the Golden Hurricane.
Nate Hinton joined Mills in double-figure scoring for Houston with 15 points. White scored eight points and pulled down seven rebounds. DeJon Jarreau scored seven points and dished six assists, and Marcus Sasser scored nine points.
Igbanu led Tulsa with 15 points. Jeriah Horne added 12 points and seven rebounds. Joiner was Tulsa's third-leading scorer with seven points at the time of his ejection.
Houston's win, coupled with Cincinnati's double-overtime loss to Central Florida earlier Wednesday night, leaves the Cougars alone in first place atop the AAC. Houston travels to Memphis on Saturday, then hosts Cincinnati on March 1 after an eight-day layoff.
Tulsa plays host to SMU on Saturday.
--Field Level Media