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Wednesday, October 4, 2023


UH looks to end slide

January left the Cougars in a state of disarray, yielding injuries, a suspension, controversy and most importantly, five losses.

UH ended last month on a three-game losing streak, leaving it with an overall record of 12-7, a 3-3 record in Conference USA, a Rating Percentage Index ranking of 110 on and a highly disappointed group of players.

If the Cougars plan to have a strong February and then head into March with any chance of making the NCAA Tournament, they can’t afford to drop a single game this month.

Wrong or not, the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee still views C-USA as a mediocre mid-major with one or two tournament caliber teams.

UH needs an eight-game conference winning steak in the worst way. They will get a chance to kick it off tonight against Central Florida at UCF Arena.

‘We want to get back to winning. I sense a hunger within the team to win,’ Houston head coach Tom Penders said. ‘When you have all your weapons like we do now, you feel like you can beat anybody, and I think our kids have a fair amount of confidence. The only way to keep that confidence up is to start winning.’

That, however, is easier said than done. The Golden Knights (15-6, 5-2 C-USA) have won five consecutive C-USA games after beginning league play with two losses.

Although those wins were not exactly over top-notch competition, (Rice, Southern Miss, Marshall, Southern Methodist and Tulane) UCF must be considered one of the hottest teams in the conference.

Then there is UCF senior guard Jermaine Taylor. He’s averaging 23.9 points for the Golden Knights, which ranks seventh in the nation in scoring.

There’s no doubt the dynamic scorer will come to play. Containing Taylor and disrupting the Golden Knights’ offense will be the point of emphasis at tonight’s 6 p.m. tipoff.

‘We’ve got to really focus and get keyed in on defense,’ UH junior guard Aubrey Coleman said. ‘That’s what happened in the Memphis game. We weren’t all on the same page and talking like we normally would. As a unit when we play together on defense and offense, we always do well.’

Coleman will enter the game fresh off a career-high 35-point performance against one of the toughest defenses in the nation, Associated Press No. 14 Memphis.

UH will need solid contributions from junior guard and leading scorer Kelvin Lewis (19.6 points per game), senior center Marcus Cousin and the rest of its supporting cast if it plans to get back on the winning side of things.’

‘We’ve just got to come together and know that the season’s not over,’ Coleman said.

‘We’ve just got to keep working, and like coach (Melvin) ‘Money’ Haralson said, ‘Don’t give up.”

The game will be broadcast’ on CBS College Sports and KBME 790 AM.

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