UH goes Young
The Cougars survived a close one Saturday night against SMU at Hofheinz Pavilion thanks to a career night from freshman Joseph Young.
Young scored a career-high 27 points and helped UH (13-14, 5-9 Conference USA) seal the 62-59 win.
“I just felt like I had the hot hand tonight,” Young said. “My teammates did a great job of attacking the gaps and finding me open in my spots.”
UH came out firing, opening the game on a 10-2 run.
“I told our guys I was pleased by the way we came out,” head coach James Dickey said.
The Mustangs (12-17, 3-11) rallied back to take a 20-19 lead on a 3-pointer by guard London Giles with three minutes to go in the first half.
With 5:12 remaining in the first half, sophomore Jimmie Jones checked into the game and swung the momentum back in the Cougars’ favor.
After entering the game, the walk-on point guard scored four points and recorded four steals to help UH go into the half on a 9-0 run with a 28-20 lead.
“I thought Jimmie gave us a great lift tonight,” Dickey said. “He really invigorated us right before the half.
“I thought he made some good decisions, really putting a lot of pressure on their transition defense. Guys like playing with Jimmie — he’s a pass first type of guy.”
The second half was a battle that Young was prepared for.
The Cougars held a close lead for most of the second half. However, a late surge from SMU led by Robert Nyakundi (24 points) fizzled when freshman TaShawn Thomas took a charge from SMU guard Aliaksei Patsevich with 11 seconds left, giving UH the ball back with a two-point lead.
In game’s final six minutes, Young scored eight points and knocked down two free throws that gave UH its decisive three-point lead.
“We all know that Joe can score, so we try to get him open shots. We have a lot of confidence in him,” said Thomas, who had 10 points, seven rebounds and two blocks.
Dickey was pleased with the continued progress he saw from Young as he continues to evolve after redshirting last season.
“Sitting out a year is a tough task,” Young said. “You just have to build up your confidence and find your rhythm as each game goes by.”
Young definitely found his rhythm Saturday night against the Mustangs, helping him have one of his best games yet.