Cougars attempt to ground Golden Eagles
The Cougars return home after a disappointing road trip and will have yet another tough challenge awaiting them in the Southern Miss Golden Eagles.
UH (11-10, 4-4 Conference USA) jumped out to an 8-0 lead at UTEP on Wednesday and even led by as much as 14 during the first half but was unable to sustain their early offense and fell 65-58 to the Miners. UTEP (16-5, 7-1) used a 12-2 run to close out the first half and trailed 30-26 at the break.
The Miners then used a 15-3 run early in the second half to take a lead they would never relinquish. UH did draw to 61-58 after an Aubrey Coleman bucket with 1:30 left, but after an errant 3-pointer by Kendrick Washington, the Cougars were forced to foul and attempt more long-range 3s to no avail.
Head coach Tom Penders & Co. will now have to take on a Golden Eagles squad coming off of a come-from-behind home victory over SMU on Tuesday that gave them a three-game winning streak in conference.
After starting out 5-0, Southern Miss has cooled a bit and sits at 13-4 overall and 3-4 in C-USA.
The Golden Eagles lead C-USA in scoring defense, limiting opponents to 60.2 points per game and are second in rebounding margin at +7.7 per game.
They also boast a talented frontcourt combo of 6-8 Gary Flowers and 6-10 Maurice Bolden, who are averaging 14.4 and 10.2 points per game, respectively.
UH held the Miners’ most talented player, 6-11 Arnett Moultrie, to only three points on 1-of-5 shooting but allowed fellow forwards Derrick Caracter and Jeremy Williams to go for 34 points and 17 rebounds combined.
Despite improved play over the last two weeks from forwards Maurice McNeil and Washington, UH still ranks second-to-last in C-USA in defensive rebounding at 20.9 per game. McNeil and Washington will be charged with containing Southern Miss’ inside trio and relieving Coleman and Kelvin Lewis of all the scoring responsibility.
Saturday’s game at Hofheinz Pavilion can also be seen on CSS Comcast channel 129 beginning at 5 p.m.