HOUSTON (AP)– University of Houston junior guard Marcus Sasser scored 25 points, graduate senior guard Taze Moore added 12, and No. 15 Houston rallied from a 13-point deficit in the second half to defeat Hofstra 83-75 in overtime Tuesday night inside the Fertitta Center.
Sasser scored 19 points after half as the Cougars outscored Hofstra 34-13 over the final 8 1/2 minutes and overtime.
''I think the thing that frustrated me the most was that I have a brand-new team,'' Houston coach Kelvin Sampson said. ''Everybody thinks you're better than you are until you see what I've seen the last month.
''We're going to struggle until we find an identity. We found an identity the last six minutes. We didn't have one the first 34. Was I surprised by that? Of course not. You think this stuff is easy? It's hard to win a game.''
Houston struggled from the free-throw line, making 15 of 25. The Cougars extended their home winning streak to 26 games.
''I am glad we played a good team tonight,'' Sampson said. ''First of all, I am thankful to win, but I am also thankful we struggled. We played harder than them the last six minutes. Our defense just went up another level. Our rebounding, we dominated the boards the last six minutes.''
Guard Tramon Mark, who averaged 7.8 points per game last season, was out of the lineup with a shoulder injury. . Houston, which was picked to win the American Athletic Conference, held a 32-26 advantage in points in the paint and outrebounded the Pride 46-42.
''Good game for us all the way around,'' Sampson said. ''The struggles were good, not making free throws, missing point blank putbacks. Actually, the execution was pretty good, especially out of timeouts. We got a lot of really good looks. We just didn't make anything.''
HANGING THE BANNER
Houston unveiled its 2021 Final Four banner on the upper concourse at the Fertitta Center before the game. The trip to the Final Four in April was the Cougars' first since 1984 and sixth in school history.
• Houston wraps up its home stand when it meets No. 25/25 Virginia at 7 p.m., Tuesday, inside the Fertitta Center.
• That game features two of the nation's winningest programs since 2017-18. Houston (111) and Virginia (107) trail only Gonzaga (127) for most victories during the last four years.
• Game can be seen on ESPN and can be heard on 950 AM KPRC.