Fabian White Jr. scored 21 points and Kyler Edwards added 10 as No. 12 Houston blasted out of the gate and strolled to a 70-52 win over Butler on Monday afternoon in a first-round game at the Maui Invitational in Las Vegas.
Houston plays Wisconsin, a 69-58 winner over Texas AM in the first quarterfinal, on Tuesday afternoon in one of the tournament's two semifinals.
The Cougars (4-0) never trailed, building a 17-0 lead that became a 23-point advantage just before halftime. Butler made a run at Houston the first six minutes of the second half, clawing to within 12 points after a pair of free throws by John-Michael Mulloy.
But the Cougars regained their stride, pushing the margin to as many as 24 points and jogging to the finish line.
Houston outshot the Bulldogs 50.9 percent to 36.6 percent, the second straight game that the Cougars have held an opponent under 37 percent shooting from the floor. Houston earned a 36-12 edge in points in the paint.
Jair Bolden led the Bulldogs (3-2) with 16 points while Ty Groce added 10 points for Butler, which has dropped two straight games. The Bulldogs committed 20 turnovers that led to 27 Houston points.
The Cougars jumped on Butler early and often, scoring the game's first 17 points over the opening six minutes. Houston led by as many as 23 in the first half after a pair of free throws by J'Wan Roberts with 1:07 to play, and cruised to halftime up 41-20.
White Jr. led all scorers with 15 points in the half as eight Cougars scored and Houston outshot the Bulldogs 54.8 percent to 35 percent over the first 20 minutes of play. Bolden's 14 points off the bench kept Butler within striking distance; the Bulldogs' 11 first-half turnovers resulted in 17 points for Houston.
--Field Level Media