December 23, 2014

LAS VEGAS (AP) Houston and Texas Tech find themselves in similar situations this season with several young players but with veteran coaches - Houston's Kelvin Sampson and Texas Tech's Tubby Smith.

And both teams found themselves in the Las Vegas Classic's consolation game on Tuesday night.

Houston's Jherrod Stiggers discovered his game, scoring 25, including seven 3-pointers, to lead the Cougars over Texas Tech 82-69 at the Orleans Arena.

Stiggers, who had seven rebounds, finished 8 of 12 from the field and took nine shots from 3-point range.

''To be honest, I wasn't thinking about (the 3-pointers), said Stiggers, who set a career high in threes. ''Coach told me to go rebounding. I just let it come to me. It feels good. We're just trying to find our identity. We need to know who we are. Now, we got an idea.''

Also for Houston (6-4), L.J. Rose had 16 points and 8 assists as the Cougars knocked down 13 of 24 from 3-point range and finished with 54 percent shooting from the field. Devonta Pollard had 12 points and Eric Weary had 11 points and 9 rebounds for Houston, which led for the last 36 minutes and went 3-1 at the Classic.

Devaugntah Williams led Texas Tech (9-3) with 19 points and 5 rebounds. Randy Onwuasor added 16 points and 7 rebounds, while Robert Turner had 12 points and 5 rebounds for the Red Raiders, who finished the Classic at 2-2, but losing the two games in Las Vegas on back-to-back nights.

The Cougars lost an overtime affair to Boise State Monday and played their fifth game in seven days.

''We have a new coaching staff, eight new players, guys are coming back having to learn, it's taken a lot,'' Sampson said. ''This is (Rose's) first week back. We're seeing the value of him on this team. We were efficient and moved the ball well tonight. We scrapped. We played well for each other. Our goal is just have a good team.''

After the lead changed hands three times in the early moments, the Cougars took the lead for good at 6-4 and later built their biggest lead of the half at 36-19. The Red Raiders started showing life late in the half, cutting the lead to 41-34 at halftime.

Texas Tech kept the late first-half momentum going into the second half, converting two 3-pointers to cut it to 41-40, but the Cougars answered with two threes and the lead never got below five again. The Red Raiders ended at 40 percent from the field.

''We had it to 41-40 and missed two shots and (Houston) weathered the storm,'' Smith said. ''We didn't guard the three. We did make some threes. They made 54 percent (from the field) and you're not going to win that game. We tried to play zone to start the game and we gave up two threes right away. We battled back, but I got to compliment coach Sampson.''

This was the second straight year the teams faced each other in a third-place game. The Red Raiders defeated Houston at the Legends Classic in Brooklyn.

The all-time series is now favors Houston 28-27.

TIP-INS

Houston: The Cougars' 82 points was their second highest this season. ... Houston is now done with a stretch of five games in seven nights, going 2-3. ... Sampson said the crowded calendar was due to a scheduling conflict.

Texas Tech: This was the first time the Red Raiders faced Sampson since he left Oklahoma. ... From 1994 to 2006, Texas Tech was 7-16 against Sampson.

STATLINE

This was the first time this season a team scored more than 69 points against the Red Raiders.

PIVOTAL MOMENT

The two 3-pointers early in the second half for Houston came from Danrad Knowles with 17:27 left and Stiggers 27 seconds later, making it 47-40.

UP NEXT

Texas Tech hosts North Texas on Monday.

Houston hosts Mississippi Valley State on Sunday.

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