Houston outlasted Texas A&M in OT to advance to the NCAA tournament

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Emanuel Sharp opened overtime with a 3-pointer as the Cougars advanced to the Sweet 16 by topping ninth-seeded Texas A&M 100-95 on Sunday night.

The Aggies forced overtime with a furious rally, outscoring Houston 17-5 in the final two minutes of regulation. Anderson Garcia beat the buzzer with his ninth 3-pointer of the season and was then swarmed by his teammates at the top of the key.

“The last two minutes were Murphy's rule,” Houston coach Kelvin Sampson said. “We missed some free throws. The ball bounced all over the place. They didn't miss a 3. And they didn't make an easy one. They were all tough 3s.”

Sharp left with 30 points after his 3. His teammates opened the extra session and closed it outscoring Texas A&M 7-1.

The win by Houston (32-4) was the fifth time since the NCAA Tournament began seeding in 1979 that eight teams ranked No. 1 and No. 2 have advanced to the Sweet 16. The top eight seeds advanced in 2019, 2009, 1995 and 1989.

The Cougars will face Duke, a 93-55 winner over James Madison, in the South Regional semifinals on Friday in Dallas. It was Houston's fifth Sweet 16 all-time and 16th.

They play for Houston's Final Four forward Reggie Chaney in 2021, who died in August at age 23. Sani's no. 32 is in a patch on the Houston jersey, and Sampson said at halftime. Chaney asked his Cougars what they would do in this game.

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“That was for the big rec,” Sampson said.

Texas A&M (21-15) is attempting to make the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2018 in its second straight NCAA Tournament appearance under coach Buzz Williams. The Aggies were 6-1 in March, only to return to a team that struggled offensively most of the season.

Jamal Sheet had 21 points and 10 assists for Houston. He is one of four Cougars to foul out for any team in the NCAA Tournament since Washington vs. UConn in 2006.

Sampson pointed to the 32 on his jersey and Schade remarked on how hard Sani would have played.

“We're built for this,” Sheet said. “I miss my dog. Happy 16.”

Adding to the SEC's woes in the conference, the Cougars represented the Big 12 in their first season. Tennessee was the only SEC's eight team to advance to the Sweet 16 in this tournament.

LJ Cryer added 20 points, and J'Wan Roberts battled through a knee problem with 13.

Wade Taylor IV was on a scoring tear in the Aggies' win over Nebraska and hit a career-high seven 3s. The guard missed his first seven shots and finished with 21 points on 5-of-25 shooting, including 3 of 13 from beyond the arc.

His 21 missed field goals in the game were the most by a player in an NCAA Tournament game since Western Kentucky's Courtney Lee went 7 for 29 against UCLA in the 2008 Sweet 16.

Tyrese Radford, who missed December's loss to Houston, had 27 points. Manny Obaseki added 15 and Garcia had 12.

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Houston led 43-38 in a fast-paced first half.

Information from ESPN Stats and Information and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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