Houston Dispatches Herd, 69-56

HOUSTON - Sam Anderson scored 11 of his career-high 13 points in the first half as the University of Houston men's basketball team dismissed Marshall, 69-56, at Hofheinz Pavilion on Saturday night in a Conference USA contest...

"He comes to work everyday in practice with that blue-collar effort," Houston head coach Tom Penders said. "He's a leader and an example for our team. I'm happy for him, and the game he put together tonight on both ends of the floor."

Ramon Dyer added 12 points to go along with a game-high and season-best 12 rebounds as well as a career-best six blocks. It was Dyer's first double-double of the season and his third of his Cougar career.

"Ramon was excellent for us tonight," Penders said. "He had great timing on the defensive end of the floor. I thought rebounding and shot blocking were things he had been struggling with, but he said to me before the game that he was going to give me everything he had and he sure did."

Chris Lawson and Lanny Smith chipped in nine points apiece for the victors, while Oliver Lafayette added five steals on the defensive side. It's the fifth time this season that Lafayette has reached that feat.

With Marshall (8-10, 1-4 C-USA) ahead 17-14 at the 9:35 mark in the opening half, Anderson sank the first of three consecutive baskets that put Houston (12-6, 3-3 C-USA) in the lead, 20-17.

The Thundering Herd hung tough, cutting the deficit to 23-22 on a lay-up by Chris Ross with 3:20 to go. Anderson responded knocking down a jumper and his first career three-point bucket at the top of key giving Houston a 28-23 lead heading into the locker room.

"I just went in there and did what coach said for me to focus on," Anderson said. "That's rebounding, playing defense and running the floor. If I have an open shot, go ahead and take it. That's what I did tonight."

Marshall started the second half on a 7-1 spurt, grabbing a 30-29 advantage on a Joe Mills triple with 16:12 remaining in the game.

The Cougars fought back with a 16-5 run of its own over the next five minutes as four Houston players poured in points. Brian Latham canned two three-balls, while Dyer added five points of his own during the spurt that allowed Houston to take control of the game with a 47-35 advantage.

The Thundering Herd got within seven points on two separate occasions, the last at the 5:30 mark, but the Cougars closed the game scoring 12 of the final 18 points of the game for the 69-56 victory.

"This can be the beginning of a great run for us to try and get into the (NCAA) tournament," Anderson said. "We just have to keep on working hard everyday and play our style of game."

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