FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Houston coach Kelvin Sampson heard the Texas Tech-heavy presence of a pandemic-limited crowd for the meeting of the old Southwest Conference foes on a supposedly neutral court in Texas.

The 17th-ranked Cougars still turned aside a rally after running out to a big lead against the No. 14 Red Raiders and coach Chris Beard.

Marcus Sasser scored 17 points playing close to home, Quentin Grimes added 15 and Houston never trailed in a 64-53 victory over Texas Tech on Sunday in a meeting of teams that went deep in the most recent NCAA Tournament in 2019.

“This felt like two NCAA Tournament teams playing at a really good level,” said Sampson, whose Cougars reached the Sweet 16 in 2019 while Texas Tech lost to Virginia in overtime in the