No. 11 Houston looks to remain perfect in AAC play at Tulsa

Houston coach Kelvin Sampson remains in search of the best method to reshape the 11th-ranked Cougars on the fly after a pair of injuries to frontline guards weakened the rotation.One thing that hasn’t changed for the Cougars, even following the losses of Marcus Sasser and Tramon Mark, is their ability to find ways to overcome opponents. Houston (14-2, 3-0 American) remained unbeaten in conference play with their 76-66 home win over Wichita State last Saturday. The Cougars will look to remain unblemished when they travel to Tulsa this Saturday.Without Mark and Sasser, who was leading the Cougars in scoring at 17.7 points per game, Houston has turned to senior center Josh Carlton, a Connecticut transfer. Carlton was named American Player of the Week after averaging 26 points, 11.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in victories over South Florida and the Shockers. He scored a career-high 30 against South Florida.”We pride ourselves on player development,” Sampson said. “Some teams, recruiting and having talent is how they win, and that’s great. There’s nothing wrong with that. We take guys like Quentin Grimes (a first-round pick of the New York Knicks in the 2021 NBA Draft) and put him on the track where he’s got a chance to develop and sell him on development.”Josh has been a joy to coach. He follows instructions, he does exactly what you ask him to do. He’s a great teammate. Is he better than I thought? I don’t know if I look at things like that.”Grimes transferred from Kansas and enjoyed a breakout junior season while leading Houston to the Final Four last season. At some point, opponents will adjust and attempt to lessen the impact Carlton is having for the Cougars offensively. Given their results without Sasser and Mark, both of whom were lost prior to the start of conference play, the Cougars should thrive nonetheless.