No. 25 Houston seeks to wrap up perfect home season

No. 25 Houston can end the regular season undefeated at “home” it squares off against Connecticut on Sunday in American Athletic Conference play at Texas Southern University’s H&PE Arena, the Cougars‘ home away from home this season.

Houston (23-6, 13-4 AAC play) can finish second with a win and no lower than third no matter the result of Sunday’s game, a seeding that will allow it to miss the first day of play in the AAC tournament, which begins Thursday at the Amway Center in Orlando, Fla.

“It doesn’t matter to me whether we’re a two seed or a three seed,” Houston coach Kelvin Samson said. ”We’ve beaten everybody in this league. If you want to cut down the nets, you’ve got to win three games in the tournament.”

The Cougars have won seven of eight games, including a 69-56 victory at injury-plagued SMU on Wednesday.

Rob Gray had 19 points and nine assists and Corey Davis Jr. added 17 points for Houston, which set the tone for the win with a defensive showcase in the first half that forced SMU into 11 consecutive missed shots over a pivotal stretch.

Houston led by as many as 18 points in the second half and has been dominant over the past month, save for a rare poor shooting game in a loss to Memphis two weeks ago.

“It’s a good road win,” Sampson said after Wednesday’s victory. “Now we have a chance to finish undefeated at home and continue to build momentum for the postseason.”

With a win against the Huskies, Houston will complete an undefeated season at home for the first time since the 1983-84 team went 15-0.

UConn (14-16, 7-10) heads to the Bayou City to complete a disappointing regular season on the heels of a 72-66 home win over Temple on Wednesday. Sunday’s game at Houston will be the eighth the Huskies have played against a ranked team this season.

“As a team, we just had a lot of energy and played hard on defense,” Huskies forward Mamadou Diarra said. “We just got it done tonight. A win always builds momentum. We’re just going to see what we did wrong in the game, see what we can fix from that and the good things we did, continue to do that as well and just grow from there.”

Jalen Adams scored 25 points and recorded eight assists and Terry Larrier added 13 points for the Huskies, who canned 11 3-pointers in snapping a two-game losing streak.

“Winning this game was really important, especially heading out to Houston,” UConn guard Antwoine Anderson said. “We just want to have momentum and just show everybody the team that we actually are instead of what we’ve been displaying. I think this really helped us.”

UConn is in eighth place in the AAC standings, one game above SMU and one game back of UCF. If things hold up this weekend, the Huskies will play the Mustangs in the first round of the conference tournament on Thursday.

It is the only meeting of the season between UConn and Houston. The all-time series is tied 5-5.