Four players scored in double figures Tuesday night and No. 1 Houston held visiting North Florida scoreless for the final 8:27 of the first half in a 76-42 blowout.
Marcus Sasser tallied 12 points in the first 7:43 of the game before leaving due to a cut over his eye. Jarace Walker added 12 points to go along with a game-high 10 rebounds, helping the Cougars (9-0) dominate the glass 42-26.
Reserve Ja'Vier Francis tallied a game-high 14 points and Tramon Mark hit for 10 for Houston, which never trailed and converted 49.3 percent of its field-goal tries. Point guard Jamal Shead didn't score in 25 minutes but dealt out 10 assists with no turnovers. The Cougars committed only eight turnovers.
Jarius Hicklen scored 12 points for the Ospreys (2-6), canning 4 of 7 3-point attempts. North Florida built its offense around the 3-point shot and did a decent job there, hitting 9 of 24, but managed just five 2-point buckets and also coughed the ball up 20 times, resulting in 21 Houston points.
The Cougars, who entered the game ranked tops in Division I in scoring defense (48 ppg) and defensive field-goal percentage (30.79), limited the Ospreys to 31.8 percent.
Sasser helped the Cougars get off to a fast start, drilling a pair of 3-pointers and scoring 10 points in the first 4 1/2 minutes as they established a 16-7 advantage. He added a jumper before leaving after a steal and a foul on Dorian James.
Houston wasn't affected much on this night despite the loss of its top scorer. The lead stayed in double figures for the game's final 32:30 and the game became a blowout when the Cougars rattled off the last 14 points of the half, with Walker dunking with 48 seconds left to make it 42-18 at the break.
The margin reached as high as 35 points in the second half.
--Field Level Media