UH ready to tame Tigers
The Cougars hope a little home cooking helps them snap a two-game losing streak tonight when Conference USA rival Memphis comes to Hofheinz Pavilion.
The Tigers are riding a four-game winning streak following a 76-63 home win over SMU on Feb. 17.
The last time they took the hardwood, the Cougars (13-13, 5-7) fell to UAB at Bartow Arena, leaving them in a three-way tie for seventh place in the league standings with SMU and Central Florida.
Aubrey Coleman, the nation’s leading scorer entering Tuesday at 25.4 points per contest, paced UH against the Blazers with 20 points. But UAB’s Elijah Millsap did in the Cougars.
Millsap finished with a game-high 22 points, including a 12-of-16 performance from the free-throw line. He also dominated on the glass, grabbing a game-high 14 rebounds.
Howard Crawford added 20 points for the Blazers.
The Cougars mounted a comeback against the Blazers on Saturday after falling behind 22-7 in the early going with a 20-4 run, but were thwarted by UAB’s hot shooting in the second half. The teams then volleyed back and forth from there before the Blazers claimed a 34-33 lead at the half.
UH held UAB to 42.4 percent from the field in the first half, but allowed the Blazers to jump-start their offensive and convert 58.3 percent (14-of-24) in the second.
The Cougars, meanwhile, connected on only 23 of 68 shot attempts.
UH briefly held a 49-48 lead, when Zamal Nixon made one of two free throws from the charity stripe, but gave up the advantage for good after UAB responded with a 10-2 run.
UH managed another late rally with 6:34 remaining to close the gap to 63-59 on a jumper by Nixon. But the Blazers put the game out of reach after scoring six unanswered points and sinking six of eight free throws down the stretch.
The Cougars will have a tall order against Memphis (20-7, 10-2 C-USA), which has won 11 straight games UH, including a 92-77 win on Jan. 23 at FedExForum in Memphis, Tenn. Memphis owns a 24-10 lead in the all-time series with the Cougars and UH has not defeated the Tigers since its 66-53 victory on Feb. 5, 2005 at Hofheinz.
Head coach Tom Penders will have to find a way to stop freshman Elliot Williams, who leads the Tigers and ranks second among C-USA’s individual leaders at 19.1 points per game. Wesley Witherspoon is Memphis’ second option, as he averages 12.4 points per contest.
After facing Memphis, the Cougars return to the road this weekend to meet C-USA-rival SMU at 7 p.m. Saturday inside Moody Coliseum in Dallas.