HOUSTON (AP) — Quentin Grimes had 27 points and 10 rebounds, Reggie Chaney added 18 points and six rebounds and No. 6 Houston overcame the absence of several key plays to rout Alcorn State 88-55 on Sunday.
Houston (5-0) was limited to nine players because of COVID-19 protocols and injuries. The Cougars played without second-leading scorer Marcus Sasser, preseason American Athletic Conference player of the year Caleb Mills, reserve guards Cameron Tyson and Ryan Elvin and center Caleb Broodo.
Houston coach Kelvin Sampson and son, assistant coach Kellen Sampson, returned after missing the Cougars’ last game Dec. 5 due to COVID-19 and contact tracing protocols.
Jamal Shead added 10 points for Houston. The Cougars shot 50% and had a 48-29 rebounding advantage, including 21-10 on the offensive boards. Houston turned that into a 23-8 edge in second-chance points.
Troymain Crosby scored 23 points, and David Pierce III added 16 points for Alcorn State (0-2). The Braves shot 36%, going 5 of 19 on 3-pointers.
The Cougars opened up a 20-4 lead on a layup by Justin Gorham with 8:44 remaining in the first half. Shead had seven points to lead Houston in the game-opening run.
Houston led 35-18 behind 10 points from Chaney.
After Alcorn opened the second half with an 11-4 spurt to close within 10 on a free throw by Crosby with 15 minutes remaining, the Cougars responded with a 10-1 run to push the lead to 49-30 on a three-point play by Shead with 11:18 remaining.
Alcorn State: The Braves hadn’t played since a season-opening 99-50 loss to UAB on Nov. 25 and had their last six games canceled. Alcorn, which never led, got off to a slow start, shooting 30% with 12 turnovers in the first half. The Braves were 16 for 27 on free throws.
Houston: The Cougars used their physicality and strength down low and attacked the paint consistently. Houston had a 42-8 advantage in points in the paint. The Cougars were 16 for 28 on free throws.
Alcorn State: At to Liberty on Tuesday.
Houston: Hosts Temple in its AAC opener on Tuesday.