HOUSTON (AP) — Quentin Grimes had 23 points and seven rebounds, Tramon Mark added 18 points and No. 10 Houston rallied for a 77-67 win over South Carolina on Saturday night.
Grimes scored 19 points in the second half, including 12 of 13 from the free throw line. Mark scored 11 points after the break, including 6 of 7 from the line.
DeJon Jarreau finished with 11 points and eight rebounds for Houston (4-0), which shot 38% and made 4 of 19 3-point attempts. Houston was helped by 31-for-38 shooting from the free throw line.
Houston coach Kelvin Sampson and his son, assistant coach Kellen Sampson, missed the game because of COVID-19 and contact tracing protocols. The school said the Sampsons were isolating at their homes and not showing symptoms.
Assistant coach Quannas White served as Houston’s coach.
Justin Minaya scored 13 points and Jermaine Couisnard and Keyshawn Bryant added 10 points apiece for South Carolina (1-2), which shot 44%. The Gamecocks made 17 of 29 shots from the line.
Houston used a 14-2 run early in the second half and opened up a 48-42 lead on a jumper by Mark with 14 minutes remaining.
After South Carolina closed within 50-49 on a free throw by Wildens Leveque, Houston used a 12-3 spurt and opened a 10-point lead on three free throws by Grimes with eight minutes left.
South Carolina led 35-31 at halftime behind eight points each from TJ Moss and Minaya.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks played Houston tough but were never able to pull away from the Cougars in the first half. South Carolina had issues with turnovers, committing 19, which Houston turned into 21 points.
Houston: The Cougars overcame a horrendous first half in which they shot 33%, including 1 of 13 on 3-pointers. At one point, they went 8½ minutes without a field goal. Houston played in the second half just as it had in its first three contests, with tough defense, earning rebounds and taking care of the ball.
Houston was without preseason American Athletic Conference player of the year Caleb Mills and guard Marcus Sasser on Saturday because of injury. Mills wore a walking boot on his left foot, and Sasser had a walking boot on his right foot.
Mills, who has averaged eight points in two games, missed Houston’s first game of the season against Lamar on Nov. 25 with an injury. Sasser is Houston’s leading scorer with 17.3 points per game through the first three games.
South Carolina: Hosts Wofford on Thursday.
Houston: Hosts Sam Houston State on Wednesday.
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