Houston and Washington battled back-and-forth in the second half, until the Cougars prevailed with a late run and won the championship game of the Diamond Head Classic 75-71 Christmas Day at the Stan Sheriff Center.
Both teams are now 10-3.
Justin Gorham scored five of seven Houston points during a run that put the Cougars up 66-60 with 3:22 left to play.
Isaiah Stewart scored five of his game-high 25 to close it to 67-65 with 2 minutes left, but Caleb Mills drove the lane to double Houston’s cushion at 69-65 with 1:21 left. Mills and Fabian White Jr. each scored a team-high 19 points for the Cougars.
Stewart scored inside again with 28 seconds left, but Quentin Grimes then hit six free throws down the stretch to ice it.
Nahziah Carter added 15 for Washington and Grimes had 14 for Houston.
No. 21 ranked UW led 36-31 at halftime, and had led by 14 at 6:01 before the break.
Houston drew within 43-41 on a dunk by Chris Harris Jr.
The teams exchanged 3-pointers until Mills banged one in for Houston for a 50-49 Cougars lead with 11:32 remaining.
In earlier action, Georgia Tech pulled away from host Hawaii, 70-53, for third place; Boise State outdid UTEP 72-67 for fifth; and Ball State beat Portland 61-46 for seventh.
White was named the tournament’s most outstanding player and was joined by Grimes, Stewart, Derrick Alston (Boise State) and Moses Wright (Georgia Tech) on the all tourney team.