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Friday, September 29, 2023

Men's Basketball

Men’s basketball team bounces back with big win

The Cougars got back on the winning track Saturday, beating Northwestern Oklahoma State 81-58 to improve to 3-1 overall.

The second half began with the Rangers going on an 8-4 run to trim the Cougars’ lead to 46-33.  The Cougars (3-1) answered with back-to-back buckets by Kendrick Washington and Darian Thibodeaux as a part of a 10-2 run to give the Cougars their largest lead of the game at 56-35.

The Rangers (4-1) cut the lead to 62-50 with 8:09 remaining in the game on a 3-pointer from Devondrick Washington.

Maurice McNeil and the Cougars turned it on the rest of the way to finish the game on a 19-8 run to roll the Rangers.

McNeil led the way with 16 points and 10 rebounds, as the Cougars had five players score in double figures to improve to 3-0 at home this season.

“I’m pleased that we won the game and played as well as we did,” head coach James Dickey said. “I thought we played in spurts, right up there to the half we had a nice run going by sharing the ball and moving ourselves. I just thought our tempo of the game was a lot better.”

The first half was all-Cougars as they went on an early 9-2 run to jump out to a 25-15 lead. They ended the first half on a 10-2 run to take a 42-25 lead heading into the locker room.

“We really wanted to build on that 17-point lead and take it to 20,” Dickey said. “We just played even with them for a long period, they finally cut it down to 12 at one point.”

The Cougars filled up the box score as Thibodeaux scored 15 points, Washington added 13 points and Zamal Nixon had 10 points, eight assists and six rebounds. Forward Kirk Van Slyke added 11 points and five rebounds as well.

“I like the fact we had some good balance,” Dickey said. “Certainly getting Kendrick back gives us another dimension, he’s big and strong.”

Adam Brown had a quiet night with four points — he scored a combined 43 points in the Cougars’ first two games but has only managed 13 total points since.

UH finished the game shooting 51 percent but struggled from the free throw line, making 16 of 25 attempts.

“I think we played pretty decent coming back from a loss,” Thibodeaux said. “Everybody wanted to get back on the floor.”

The Cougars will return to action against Louisiana-Lafayette at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Hofheinz Pavilion.

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