MEN’S BASKETBALL: Cougars outlast Troy, 93-85
The Cougars misfired on many of their two-point attempts during the opening moments of Monday’s matchup with Troy.
Their solution to this problem:’ shoot the ball’ from farther away.
UH put on a 3-point-shooting clinic,’ connecting on 59.3 percent of its attempts from beyond the arc to take down the Trojans, 93-85, in front of an underwhelming crowd Monday at Hofheinz Pavilion. The 16-of-27 performance from 3-point land was the Cougars’ fifth-best in school history and’ most’ efficient overall’ since 2002.
Head coach Tom Penders was quite pleased with how his team played offensively, especially its ability to hit shots from the outside.
‘Sixteen-for-27 from 3 ain’t bad,’ Penders said. ‘It was part of the defensive game plan. ‘hellip; We were getting 3(-pointers) and they were getting 2(-pointers).’
Senior guard Kelvin Lewis, who scored 24 points, connected on four of his first five 3-point attempts. He finished 7-of-9 from behind the arc.
‘When (Lewis) passed one up ‘hellip; I took him out and told him, ‘You can’t pass up those shots (tonight),” Penders said.
Lewis not only made treys, but also big plays.
UH (5-2) led Troy (5-5) 79-73 with 3:19 left in the game when Lewis rose into the air to draw a foul before banking in a mid-range jump shot. He followed by sinking the free throw to put the Cougars up 82-73 with about three minutes remaining.
The Trojans continued to battle, however, pulling within 84-80 on Brandon Hazzard’s 3-pointer from the corner with 1:35 left in the game.
Aubrey Coleman fired back with his own trey, which he’ chucked with the shot clock winding down, to give UH an 87-80 lead with 1:01 remaining.
Hazzard drained another 3 to cut Troy’s deficit to 87-83 with 51 seconds left, but the Cougars made enough free throws to stave off the Trojans’ comeback attempt.
Coleman led all scorers with 25 points,’ but connected on only one of six 3-point attempts.
Monday’s’ contest was hotly contested throughout, as neither team led by more than 15 at any point.
The Cougars entered the second half holding a slim 43-37 advantage, but that lead grew quickly.
UH went on a 10-4 run, capped by Adam Brown’s 3-pointer, out of the break to push its lead to 55-43 with 16:16 left in the game.
Troy crept within 63-58 after Michael Vogler nailed a jumper with 11:13 remaining, but the Cougars continued to fend off the Trojans. Brown connected on a trey, Coleman made a jump shot and Lewis hit a 3 to help UH build a 71-60 lead with 9:54 left in the contest.
UH was nursing a 32-30 lead with 2:10 left in first half before it went on a 9-2 run to take a 41-32 lead with 1:01 remaining before halftime. All 9 of the Cougars’ points during that stretch came from behind the arc, as Coleman connected on a trey before Lewis hit back-to-back 3s.
UH’ will return to action when it’ welcomes Mississippi State to Hofheinz Pavilion at 1 p.m. Saturday. Penders believes the Cougars will have an excellent opportunity to boost their NCAA Tournament resume, but he knows winning won’t be easy.
‘(Mississippi State) is an outstanding team,’ Penders said. ‘They are really deep and talented.’