Houston Cougars win NCAA Midwest 1st round, advance

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — It's beginning to look like old times for Houston in the NCAA Tournament.

The University of Houston Cougars men's basketball program advances to the second round of the NCAA tournament after defeating the Georgia State Panthers by a score of 84-55.

Corey Davis scored 26 points with seven three-pointers made, seven rebounds, and six assists in the game on Friday night.

After reaching the national final in 1984, Houston went more than three decades without winning an NCAA Tournament game. Now, the Cougars have tourney wins in back-to-back seasons and are starting to resemble the program that has five Final Four appearances and produced stars including Elvin Hayes, Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon.

Fabian White had 14 points and 11 rebounds and Breaon Brady added 13 for Houston (32-3), which will face either Iowa State or Ohio State on Sunday.

Houston rolled out to a 15-3 lead in the first five minutes, and the rout was on. The Cougars shot 52 percent to lead 40-31 at halftime, and then opened the second half on a 10-2 run to put the game out of reach.

D'Marcus Simonds scored 18 points for No. 14 seed Georgia State (24-10), which received an automatic bid as the Sun Belt Conference Tournament champion.

Houston held the Panthers to 30-percent shooting, an impressive effort against a squad that entered averaging 75 points per game.


Georgia State: Coach Ron Hunter has had success in the tournament before - he led the Panthers to an upset of Baylor in 2015. But this time, his Panthers were overmatched. Simonds, the team's top scorer, returns next season, but the next three scorers - Devin Mitchell, Jeff Thomas and Malik Benlevi - are seniors.

Houston: The Cougars played like a team with NCAA experience. Whenever Georgia State made a run, the Cougars had an answer, and they didn't let up. Houston outscored the Panthers 44-24 in the second half.


Houston awaits its second-round opponent.


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