Marcus Sasser scored a game-high 25 points to lead five Houston players in double figures as the top-ranked Cougars crushed visiting Norfolk State 100-52 on Tuesday.
After earning their first No. 1 ranking in the AP poll in nearly 40 years on Monday, the Cougars (7-0) showed why they ascended one spot to supplant North Carolina after the Tar Heels lost twice last week.
Sasser shot 8 of 15 from the field, including 7 of 12 from 3-point range, and added four assists, while Tramon Mark added 16 points, six assists and five rebounds.
Houston’s Jamal Shead chipped in 12 points by going 4 of 4 from beyond the arc while adding a game-high 11 assists. J’Wan Roberts finished with 10 points by going 5 of 5 from the field and adding five rebounds.
Ja’Vier Francis shot 5 of 5 from the floor to finish with 10 points to go along with eight rebounds.
The Cougars, who led by as many as 52 points in the second half, shot 38 of 66 (57.6 percent) from the field, including a red-hot 17 of 33 (51.5 percent) from 3-point range, in addition to outrebounding the Spartans 40-28.
Norfolk State (5-3) was led by Kris Bankston’s 14 points and four rebounds, while Caheim Brown added 11 points.
The Spartans shot 20 of 57 (35.1 percent) from the field, including a dreadful 1 of 18 (5.6 percent) from beyond the arc, in addition to committing 16 turnovers that the Cougars converted into 30 points.
Houston completely dominated the Spartans from the opening tip, jumping out to an 18-6 lead on Roberts’ layup with 14:44 left in the first half and never looking back.
The Cougars extended their lead to 25 a little more than five minutes later when Sasser’s 3-pointer made it 33-8 with 9:40 left.
Just over five minutes later, Houston was up by 36 after Mark’s three-point play gave the Cougars a 48-12 lead with 4:35 left in the first half.
Houston led 54-20 at halftime.