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March Madness

#5 Houston knocks off #1 Arizona for spot in Elite Eight

SAN ANTONIO — Jamal Shead poured in 21 points and Kyler Edwards added 19, including a huge 3-pointer with 1:26 to play, as fifth-seeded Houston waylaid top-seeded Arizona 72-60 on Thursday in an NCAA Tournament South Region Sweet 16 game.

The Cougars (32-5) will play second-seeded Villanova on Saturday in the Elite Eight. Villanova beat 11th-seeded Michigan 63-55 in the first South semifinal Thursday.

Houston never trailed in the slugfest, earning a six-point lead at halftime via its defense and holding off the deeper Wildcats in the second half with timely 3-pointers from Shead and Edwards.

Arizona got to within two points twice in the first six and a half minutes, but the Cougars shrugged off the Wildcats, eventually building a 61-49 advantage after two free throws by J’wan Roberts with 7:10 to play.

The Wildcats closed the gap to six points with 2:12 remaining before Edwards produced his back-breaking 3-pointer to all but cement the win.

Josh Carlton added 10 points for Houston. The Cougars held Arizona to 33.3 percent shooting.

Dalen Terry paced Arizona with 17 points, with Bennedict Mathurin adding 15 and Christian Koloko scoring 10 for the Wildcats (33-4).

Houston swarmed the Wildcats in the first half, holding Arizona to 28 percent shooting while building a 34-28 lead at the break. The Cougars roared to a 14-4 lead six minutes into the game after a driving layup by Edwards that capped a 7-0 run.

The Wildcats closed to within four points on two occasions, the latest via a pair of free throws by Terry with 7:01 to play in the half.

Houston stretched the margin back to 10 points and was up 34-26 before two free throws from Koloko with 0.6 seconds left brought Arizona to six points at halftime.

Shead, Edwards and Carlton scored six points each to lead a balanced Cougars attack in the half. Houston shot 44.8 percent despite making just 3 of 12 shots from beyond the arc. But the Cougars ruled the lane, scoring 18 points in the paint.

Arizona was paced by Terry’s eight points before halftime; the Wildcats made more 3-point shots (4) than two-point baskets (3) in the half.

–Steve Habel, Field Level Media

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