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Friday, September 22, 2023


UH looks to avenge loss

As long as Aubrey Coleman has anything to do with it, the Cougars will not make the same mistake they did going into the game against Southern Miss. That’s because the junior guard now knows that teams in Conference USA are stronger than advertised.

He knows that if his team wants to start thinking about making the NCAA Tournament, mental lapses in preparation, are out of the question.

Coleman wants the bad taste from his first conference loss out of his mouth, so he will take the court tonight against East Carolina with the same mentality that he had for games against Alabama-Birmingham and Texas-El Paso.

Coleman will play like ECU’s entire squad talked about his mother. In other words, for those who are not familiar with the devastation that is the ‘Yo Mamma’ joke, he will be playing with a chip on his shoulder.

‘Before the UAB game we had a team meeting to let everybody know that if they do their part we will come out victorious,’ Coleman said. ‘Then for the Southern Miss game we were like, ‘OK it’s Southern Miss.’ But for UTEP and UAB it was like, ‘We’ve got something to prove.’ We can’t be like that if we want to be a championship team.’

The Cougars were picked to finish seventh in C-USA behind teams like UTEP, UAB and Memphis in the preseason poll. But he also knows he and his teammates won’t be able to convince anybody they are one of the elite teams in the conference if they can’t consistently outplay their competition.

‘It’s like playing on the playground. You’ve got players that are supposed to be this and that. When you go against them, you are going to go even harder just because of his name so you can get respect. That’s what it is,’ Coleman said.

‘We’re trying to get respect, and when we come down on those little teams we’ve got to run through them. We ain’t proved nothing yet. We haven’t done anything.’

However, that task has been more difficult than expected for Coleman and the 11-4 Cougars. They may have a 2-1 conference record, but this is a league that has eight teams with winning records, each of which have legitimate non-conference victories.

UH head coach Tom Penders knows the Cougars are an improved team compared to last season’s College Basketball Invitational team, but the rest of the league has kept pace. That means the Cougars may hit a few speed bumps in tonight’s 7 p.m. matchup with the Pirates.

‘East Carolina is 9-7. I think last year at this point they were something like 5-10,’ Penders said. ‘You’ve got some good players in the league, and a lot of veteran players in the league. It makes for a more interesting conference. ‘

Penders said he hopes to receive a better homecourt advantage from the fans. The team needs it this season because they are facing stiff competition.

‘The students are the key,’ Penders said. ‘When you get 2,000-to-3,000 alumnus or older fans, and then get 2,000 students’hellip;you’ve got a heck of an environment here. We definitely need that.’

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