UH starts long homestand
The Cougars return home after spending a productive week in Anchorage, Alaska for the Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout.
UH (3-2) beat then-No. 25 Oklahoma 100-93 and Alaska-Anchorage 73-57 to take home third place in the tournament. In between, the Cougars lost to San Diego, 72-65, who also defeated the Sooners.
Head coach Tom Penders said the third-place finish isn’t a clear representation of how the team is playing.
“I personally don’t look at finishing third; it’s how you play that’s important at this point in the season, unless you win the tournament,” Penders said. “Finishing third is finishing third, but it’s better than finishing fourth or fifth.”
One measure that demonstrates how well a team is playing is effort, and Penders said the team is not giving effort the way they should.
“We’re not doing it consistently yet.” Penders said. “Some guys are in great shape and there are a couple guys that aren’t, and we’re getting there.
“That’s what this part of the season is all about: getting strong in all areas. And after a tournament (such as) we just went through, you have an opportunity to really evaluate where your team is. You have an idea of where they can and should be.”
During the week, guards Kelvin Lewis and Aubrey Coleman were superb, especially in the win over the Sooners. They both made the all-tournament team, and Lewis became the newest member of UH’s 1,000-point club.
While the two may appear to be carrying the load, Penders said the Cougars have been getting contributions from elsewhere.
“Adam Brown has been very productive; (Kirk) Van Slyke’s been getting a lot of opportunities to score, but he’s been getting in foul trouble, and that’s typical of freshmen — he’s reacting to the physicality rather than being the guy initiating,” Penders said. “Desmond Wade is shooting well and averaging around 12 points a game, and his assist-to-turnover ratio is unbelievable.”
At 2 p.m. Sunday, the Cougars will take on Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at Hofheinz Pavilion, which will begin a six-game stretch at Hofheinz that goes through the end of December.
Penders said that some players still need to catch up and turn their focus to defense.
“We’re trying hard to get Kendrick Washington in the kind of condition he needs to be in, because of his legs,” Penders said. “He had surgery and all that, but that was July, and he really needs to work harder; he’s a very important player to us.”
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi is a team out of the Southland Conference that upset Oregon State in its first game of the season.
Penders said the key would be maintaining the tempo.
“They’re a very talented team; most people picked them to win their division,” Penders said. “We’re going to have to play defense and play the game at our pace. They’d rather play in the 60s, and we’d rather play in the 80s. It will be a battle of styles.”