Houston Basketball: Cougars pull away late to get win over Liberty

Houston basketball shuts down Liberty after a close battle in the first half.

The Houston Cougars have rebounded since their loss to Arkansas earlier this month.

Houston powered through in the second half to defeat Liberty, 77-54, to pick up their third straight victory.

Houston (9-2) found themselves in a back-and-forth battle in the first half as both sides drained three pointers. Liberty (5-8) was hot in the first half, making 12-for-21 from the field, including 8-for-12 from three, and forced the lead to change six times.

The Cougars held onto a one-point halftime lead (35-34) despite the hot shooting effort by the Flames. Liberty spread the scoring around during the first half with Ryan Kemrite leading with 10 points. Rob Gray kept the Cougars ahead thanks to his 14 first half points (6-for-10 shooting from the field).

Both teams continued to trade the lead in the second half. In total, the lead changed hands 10 times and the game was tied seven times. However, the difference came in the final 11 minutes, when Houston went on a 25-4 run to pull away from Liberty for good.

The Flames struggled to score in the second half as Houston’s defense held them to 6-for-23 from the field, including 3-for-11 from three point range.

Gray finished as the co-leading scorer along with Damyean Dotson (22 points). Dotson also had 10 rebounds to secure a double-double. Wes Vanbeck had 13 points and Danrad Knowles scored 10.

Kemrite finished the game as Liberty’s leading scorer with 15 points. Lovell Cabbil had 14 points, while Brock Gardner scored 10 for the Flames.

Houston’s win means they remain undefeated (6-0) at home.

The Cougars have one more game before starting conference play. They take on Harvard at home Friday night.