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Sengun scores a career-high 37, Rockets outlast Jazz in OT

Alperen Sengun Houston Rockets Alperen Sengun - The Canadian Press

HOUSTON (AP) — Alperen Sengun scored a career-high 37 points and had a game-high 14 rebounds to lead the Houston Rockets to a 127-126 overtime win over the Utah Jazz on Saturday night.

Sengun missed two free throws with 8.1 seconds remaining in overtime, and Utah’s Jordan Clarkson missed a mid-range jumper in the closing seconds as Houston hung on to snap a three-game losing streak.

Jabari Smith Jr. hit a free throw with 36.4 seconds remaining in overtime to put Houston up 127-126. On the next play, Amen Thompson had a high-flying block at the rim to deny Collin Sexton’s layup attempt that could have given Utah the lead.

“Those wins are satisfying, no doubt,” Rockets coach Ime Udoka said. “Not just the overtime part but how we gutted it out. A lot of guys got a chance to win a real tough basketball game so it was good for them.”

The Rockets returned home where they are 16-6 after losing five of six on an East Coast trip to fall to 4-15 on the road.

Utah has now lost back-to-back games following a six-game winning streak.

Clarkson led Utah with 33 points off the bench, while Collin Sexton added 28. Walker Kessler had five blocks and Ochai Agbaji added three blocks.

“We just kept fighting,” Clarkson said. “We gave us an opportunity to win, chances to win. We just couldn’t finish it out tonight, but it was a well-played game.”

Sengun hit two free throws with 20 seconds remaining in the fourth to tie the game at 115. Sexton missed a 3 at the buzzer to send the game to overtime.

“I will live and die with those shots every time,” Jazz coach Will Hardy said. “Those guys have proven they can make those shots time and time again. But ultimately, not being able to secure defensive rebounds and secure the ball ultimately cost us in that game.”

Houston was 0-3 in overtime games this season and hadn’t won a game in overtime since Dec. 5, 2022.

“I don’t remember if we won in overtime since I’ve been here the past three years,” Sengun said. “So, that meant a lot. We’ve grown up a lot. We played hard, we don’t want to lose in our house, and we got the win.”

Houston led 61-54 at halftime. The Rockets made 8 of 19 from beyond the arc in the first half after making eight 3s or less in each of their previous four games while shooting 26.5% over that span. Sengun had 17 points and 10 rebounds in the first half.

Utah guard Kris Dunn and Houston forward Jabari Smith Jr. had to be separated late in the third quarter after Dunn set a hard screen on Smith immediately following Lauri Markkanen's defensive rebound. Both players were assessed technical fouls.

The teams were tied 89-all entering the fourth.

“It’s a miracle we were even in that game,” Hardy said. “They had 24 offensive rebounds and we had 17 turnovers. It’s a bad recipe for success. But I was really happy with how the team executed down the stretch.”


Jazz: Visit the Pelicans on Tuesday night.

Rockets: Host Boston on Sunday night.