DALLAS -- Practice paid off for SMU’s Emmanuel Bandoumel on Saturday.
Bandoumel hit an off-balance 3-point shot with 30 seconds remaining in overtime, and SMU held on to upset No. 20 Houston 73-72.
“I was a little bit off-balance,” he said. “I had to create some space, but I’ve been practicing for that. It was a time for that.”
Bandoumel scored seven points in the game and had missed his first two 3-point attempts. With the shot clock running down, the ball went to him near the right sideline.
“Especially no time left on the shot clock too. Everybody was telling me to shoot. That was a crazy shot.”
Houston coach Kelvin Sampson had no problem with the Cougars’ defense on the play.
“We had him guarded. They don’t have anything. Bandoumel throws up a Hail Mary. Credit to him.”
Houston freshman Marcus Sasser made three free throws with three seconds left to send the game to overtime and gave the Cougars a 72-70 lead with a 3-point shot with 1:05 remaining in the extra period.
Sasser reached a career-high 26 points to lead all scorers. He scored half of them in the second half to rally Houston (20-6, 10-3 American Athletic Conference) from an 11-point halftime deficit. His last-minute free throws tied the game for the first time since it was 2-2.
With less than a second left in overtime, the Cougars had the ball under their basket. It went to Sasser in the left corner, and his shot hit the side of the rim.
Tyson Jolly led SMU (18-6, 8-4) with 20 points. Isiaha Mike and Feron Hunt scored 15 each, and Kendric Davis had 10.
Houston’s DeJon Jarreau scored 15 points before fouling out with 3:34 to play.
Houston: Despite the loss, the Cougars held on to first place in the American Athletic Conference by half a game over Cincinnati. The Cougars had won eight of their previous nine games, beginning with a 71-62 home win over SMU one month earlier.
SMU: The Mustangs remained fourth in the conference, but now only 1 1/2 games behind first-place Houston. SMU is half a game behind third-place Tulsa (8-3) in the tightly packed conference. “(The win) doesn’t make us the favorite to win the league by any stretch,” coach Tim Jankovich said. “We felt we definitely needed to win to have a realistic chance.”
The lead changed only once during regulation play, in the opening minutes after Houston’s Chris Harris Jr. scored the first basket before SMU went on a 12-0 run. In the overtime, the lead changed hands four times.
The Cougars’ Quentin Grimes made it 69-68 with a 3-pointer, SMU’s Feron Hunt put in a shot that bounced off the rim and backboard for a 70-69 lead and Marcus Sasser hit a 3-pointer to give Houston a 72-70 lead before Emmanuel Bandoumel’s 3-pointer provided the winning margin.
NEAR AND FAR
Houston’s Marcus Sasser is from Red Oak, Texas, 27 miles south of SMU on Interstate 35E. Mustangs coach Tim Jankovich said he recruited Sasser out of high school. “Maybe should have done it harder,” he said. “He was great tonight.” Jankovich had to go much farther to recruit hero of the game Emmanuel Bandoumel, who is from Quebec City in Canada.
BY THE NUMBERS
In the first half, SMU shot 75 % (15 for 20), including 3 of 5 3-pointers. Each team went 6 for 6 from the foul line. … The Mustangs cooled off to 35 % in the second half, but outshot Houston 55 % to 40 for the game. … SMU is 14-1 at home this season.
Houston returns home to play Tulane on Wednesday. The Cougars beat Tulane 75-62 at home Feb. 6.
SMU plays at Tulsa on Wednesday. The Mustangs won 82-67 at home against Tulsa on Feb. 1.