By Harry Allison
Ramon Walker’s 3-ball stretched No. 12 Houston’s lead to five in the final minutes to help hold off Temple 66-61.
The Owls, who had already lost top scorer Khalif Battle, played without injured Jake Forrester and Tai Strickland.
For Houston (12-2, 1-0 American Athletic Conference), Fabian White Jr. had 15 points and 14 rebounds, and Jamal Shead scored 14 points. Walker added 13 points, none bigger than the 3 with 2:30 left.
The Cougars only used seven of the 10 players available against Temple (7-6, 1-1), which certainly won’t sustain the team through the meat of AAC schedule. Sampson was forced to use grad assistants and managers in practice over the last week with so many players out with injuries or in COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
Damian Dunn scored 14 points and Nick Jourdain had 12 for Temple, which made a run at an upset; had the Cougars as 16½-point favorites on the road.
Jahlil White’s corner 3 brought the Owls back to within 57-54.