Cougars learn from losses
Coming off of back-to-back losses decided by a total of three points, the Cougars are learning the importance that every possession has in deciding games.
“If you look at it, one possession either way in either game and you’re looking at a different record,” head coach James Dickey said.
“You have to value each possession. You have to play your fanny off on defense every possession, so these guys are learning.”
With a team full of freshmen and sophomores, the Cougars’ losses might be good lessons to learn from for later in the season.
“It’s funny because I was talking to my mother about that yesterday,” senior guard Darian Thibodeaux said. “I don’t want to say that it’s good that we got it out this early, but it’s good that we got that taste in our mouth — and we don’t want to have that taste again.
“It’s definitely something to learn from and move forward from.”
Dickey said that the three areas the Cougars needed to shore up were on defense, giving opponents second chances and their toughness.
Against TCU, the Cougars surrendered 15 offensive rebounds, the last of which allowed the Frogs to take a decisive 81-80 lead.
The Cougars have shown an ability to put the ball in the bucket, averaging 82.6 points per game, the 19th best mark in the NCAA. But a further commitment to defense and rebounding will push the Cougars to be more than a .500 team.
Swingman to make debut for UH
The Cougars will have increased depth against the Tigers with the debut of freshman LeRon Barnes, who missed UH’s first five games with an ankle injury.
“I can’t wait,” Thibodeaux said. “I’m ready for him to come back. That’s help on the wing.”
The 6-foot-6-inch Barnes averaged 33 points, 10 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.8 blocks as a senior at North DeSoto High School in Stonewall, La.
“He gives us another guard, wing player, defender, rebounder,” Dickey said. “Right now, it not only helps us in practice, but it will help us in the game.
“We certainly missed he and Stiggs (Jherrod Stiggers) both not being out there.”
Freshman provides spark off bench
Freshman point guard J.J. Thompson has helped give the Cougars another gear when he enters the game.
“He’s really just coming out of that freshman shell, getting the hang of this whole Division-I basketball and the speed of it,” Thibodeaux said.
Thompson has averaged 26 minutes, 10 points, two assists and 1.3 steals in the Cougars last three contests.
Tonight’s matchup between the Cougars and the Tigers will be televised on CBS Sports Network (Ch. 106) and will be broadcast on 790 AM at 7 p.m. at Hofheinz Pavilion.