HOUSTON (AP) — Fabian White Jr. had 26 points and six rebounds and No. 14 Houston scored the first 15 points in an 84-46 victory over Temple on Thursday night.
White was 11 of 18 from the field to help the Cougars (26-4, 15-2 American Athletic) win their sixth straight. The graduate senior has scored at least 20 points in three straight games.
“Once we came in at halftime and had a little sit down and realized how close we were to cutting the nets down, it just kind of took us up a little bit,” White said. “It just shows our grittiness, our defense and our culture.”
Taze Moore added 19 points, Jamal Shead had 10 points and a career-high 13 assists, and Josh Carlton finished with 11 points and eight rebounds.
Houston shot 53%, including 63% in the second half. It made 10 of 25 3-pointers and had a 42-18 advantage in points in the paint.
“We know what it takes to get where we want to go,” Moore said. “We have a lot of guys that are strong, that are strong minded and are willing. When you have a team that is winning like we are and that’s all together, it’s hard to beat a team like this.”
Nick Jourdain and Jahlil White each scored 10 points for Temple (16-11, 9-7). Jourdain fouled out 4 1/2 minutes into the second half after picking up his fourth foul and getting called for a technical foul. The Owls shot 31%, including 5 of 19 (26%) in the second half.
White capped the opening 15-0 run with a layup, but the Owls responded with a 14-3 spurt — cutting it two four on two free throws by Jourdain with 9:42 left in the first half.
“We came out a step slow,” Temple coach Aaron McKie said. “It could have been a number of different things. It’s what they do. They get out on you early. I thought we did a good job of fighting back into it.”
The Cougars answered with an 11-3 run, making it 29-17 on a dunk by White with four minutes remaining, and took a 33-23 lead into halftime.
Temple closed within seven to start the second half, but that was as close as the Owls would get. They went 11:18 without a field goal in the second half.
“I thought we were doing a good job of attacking and not having to settle, but you have to make shots in this game,” McKie said. “You can defend as much as you want, but you have to be able to put the ball in the basket.”
Temple: The Owls have not beaten a ranked opponent since Jan. 15, 2020, when it topped then-No. 16 Wichita State. … Temple’s bench scored 28 points.
Houston: The Cougars extended their winning streak to six games over Temple. … Houston finished 16-1 at home this season. … The Cougars outscored Temple 51-23 in the second half. … Houston forced 20 turnovers and turned it into 27 points.
Along with Jourdain’s technical foul, Arashma Parks and Moore were each given technical fouls with 6:57 remaining in the second half. After Moore made an alley-oop off the backboard, he got into it with Parks at midcourt, with Parks pushing Moore as the officials and coaches got in the middle of the scrum before anything else could happen.
CELEBRATING THE CHAMPIONSHIP
Following the game, the Cougars celebrated their AAC regular season championship holding up the trophy to the fans and cutting down the nets. The Cougars clinched the title on Tuesday but waited to cut down the nets until Thursday.
“These guys have worked hard,” Houston coach Kelvin Sampson said. “They’ve listened. They’ve followed instructions. They believe in the culture of our program. They’ve embraced it.”
Temple: Hosts South Florida on Sunday in the regular-season finale.
Houston: At Memphis on Sunday to close out the regular season.