With nine seconds remaining and his team down by three points, freshman forward Danuel House made the biggest shot of his career. House said he called buckets — a quip he says when a confident shot attempt is on the way.
His game-tying shot gave UH new life and the team capitalized with a 78-75 victory against Texas Southern University.
House and assistant coach Alvin Brooks have been practicing late game situations and he was ready to take the shot.
“All I was thinking about was if I got the ball in my hands I’m going to shoot,” House said.
The Cougars (7-2) started overtime well but struggled to put the game away against the Tigers (1-8) during the extra period.
UH scored the first six points. Redshirt sophomore guard Joseph Young and sophomore forward TaShawn Thomas hit jumpers and were fouled. Both converted on the 3-point plays, and UH led 72-66.
Thomas said the team expects Young to make clutch buckets. Young scored seven points in overtime.
“We all know Joe can make some big shots going back to last season,” Thomas said. “When he shot them I knew it was money.”
TSU followed instantly with a 3-point shot by senior guard Omar Strong. After a Young jumper, TSU junior guard Raymond Penn converted on another 3-point attempt. The Cougars’ lead was only two, 74-72 with 15 seconds remaining.
Young, who finished with 21 points, and sophomore guard J.J. Thompson both hit two free throws down the stretch to finish off the victory.
Thomas said it was tough to hold TSU’s two guards all game because of their size.
“Coming into the game I knew it was going to be tough (to guard Strong and Penn),” Thomas said. “Those little dudes were fast.”
Strong finished with 29 points and hit eight 3-pointers. TSU head coach Mike Davis said the Tigers spread the floor in an attempt to get their shooters more open looks, which worked well in the first half as TSU led 35-27 at the break.
Thomas said the Cougars waited the first 15 minutes to play as well as they could — House said it was more like the entire first half.
The Cougars made a point to get the ball inside more to Thomas late in the first half and into the second. Thomas finished with a game-high 23 points, 17 of which came in the second half. UH defeated TSU in the paint 20-6 but still trailed nine with five minutes remaining. He said desperation fueled the comeback.
Head coach James Dickey was happy with the win but believes the team needs to play well for 40 minutes.
“I’m really happy that we won, disappointed that we didn’t play hard earlier,” Dickey said.