Houston 67, Wichita St. 66
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ Byron Smith drove for a layup with 1:03 left to help Houston hold off Wichita State 67-66 in the first round of the preseason NIT Thursday night.
Wichita State turned the ball over with 49 seconds to play and Smith ran out the shot clock to leave the Shockers just a few seconds remaining. Aaron Davis missed a 10-foot shot.
Wichita State’s Lance Kroll made a rolling shot in the lane to give the Shockers their first lead since the first half 66-65 with 1:33 left. They missed their first four shots of the second half and trailed by nine points before rallying and cutting the deficit to 63-62 on John Cooper’s basket with 4:02 remaining.
Smith led all scorers with 29 points, including 19 in the first half as the Cougars took a 41-37 lead at the intermission. He hit three 3-pointers, the third giving Houston its biggest lead of the first half, 32-26, with 3:06 to play.
Cooper led the Shockers with 15 points while Davis added 11 in the opener for both teams. Houston’s Carl Herrera had 13 points and Craig Upchurch had 10.
Houston’s 3-pointers brought the smaller Shockers out of their 2-3 zone defense. The Cougars nailed five of 10, all in the last six minutes of the first half.