Houston ready for first Sweet 16 appearance since 1984

The Cougars will face Kentucky Friday night in Kansas City


Corey Davis Jr. vividly remembers what he felt like at this time one year ago.

Sunday night he got redemption.

No. 3 Houston beat No. 11 Ohio State 74-59 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, avenging the loss in the same round last year when Michigan hit a buzzer beater to eliminate the Cougars.

Davis was the primary defender during the Wolverines' last-second heave and pasted the play on Twitter the night before the Cougars and Buckeyes squared off as a reminder to not let history repeat itself.

"That moment has been motivation for a lot of us," Davis said. "I just want to give myself the extra motivation to play as hard as I could to not put us in that kind of predicament again. To win in March is hard as it is."

Davis finished with a team-best 21 points and six rebounds, Galen Robinson had 13 points, six steals and five assists. Armani Brooks had 11 points and five rebounds while Fabian White finished with 10 points and six boards.

Houston head coach Kelvin Sampson singled out Robinson as the Cougars' best player on the game, citing defense and holding Ohio State's star Kaleb Wesson to 15 points on 3-of7 shooting.

"The most overrated things sometimes is evaluating them on how many points he scores," Sampson said. "Our program was built on competing and playing with a chip (on your shoulder) and never losing it."

Robinson competed in the 135th game of his Houston career, setting a new school record. Robinson moved past Michael Young, who competed in 134 games from 1980-84.

This is the first year the Cougars have made it to the Sweet 16 since 1984.

"It means more to the fans than it does us," Sampson said. "These kids weren't even born, so that means nothing to them. But I saw a lot of proud Cougars out there tonight and they've supported us."

Houston will face No. 2 Kentucky in the Sweet 16 Friday at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. The Wildcats beat No.15 Abilene Christian and No. 7 Wofford in the first two rounds of the tournament.

The winner will face either No. 1 North Carolina or No. 5 Auburn for a trip to the Final Four in Minneapolis.

Houston has been a pinnacle of consistency since the current senior group leading this run got to the school, winning 22, 21, 27 and now 33 games in the last four seasons.

At the center of all the success is Sampson, who is the back-to-back AAC Coach of the Year and pushed the school to spend more than $100 million on a new practice facility and arena, which opened this season.

The Cougars have been to the NIT in his second and third years at the helm before last year's finish in the Top 25 and run to the second round.

Even with the players on the podium after the win against Ohio State talking about the locker room and barely holding back laughter, Sampson was talking about preparation.

He's ready for the Wildcats.

"We're representing our conference and moving to the Sweet 16," Sampson said.

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