Cougars looking to bounce back at UAB
After starting league play 2-0, The Cougars have lost two straight and will attempt to march back into plus .500 territory in Conference USA when they travel to UAB to take on the first-place Blazers (10-6, 4-0 C-USA) at 4 p.m. Sunday.
The Cougars’ performance in the second half of their last contest should provide all the additional motivation needed to bring their best game to Alabama. UH (8-9, 2-2) led Marshall 42-23 at halftime only to succumb to poor shooting and eventually fall 66-61.
The Cougars shot 30 percent in the second half after shooting 50 percent in the first.
Head coach Joe Curl said the team lost the intensity that helped them get the lead early in the game.
“We just lost our overall intensity and then we lost our confidence,” Curl said. “The next thing you know it’s a tie ball game, and then they’re up one.”
A likely cause could have been fatigue, as all five starters played at least 35 minutes, with only five minutes split between two bench players.
Curl took personal responsibility for the way his team played down the stretch.
“We got really tired in the last two minutes and that’s no one’s fault but my own,” Curl said.
“We have some players on the sideline that we think we have confidence enough that we can put them in the ball game and I think you’re going to see a different ball game Sunday.”
Depth will be critical against UAB — only two players on the Blazers’ roster average less than 10 minutes per game. Other UAB strengths are its full-court press and dribble penetration in the half court.
Curl said his team is equipped handle the Blazers’ style.
“We’re just going to have to have a lot of poise,” Curl said. “Make the easy pass, break the press, get something out of it at the other end and get them out of that press.”
The Cougars will have to concentrate on getting defensive rebounds, a weakness thus far this season.
Curl said UH has to control the boards to win.
“We’ve got to win the rebounding edge if we’re going to win the game,” Curl said. “They really go after the offensive glass.”