With 1:29 remaining, Prairie View cut UH’s once 17-point lead to four when junior forward Rasi Jenkins hit a jumper. To ice the game, the Cougars needed an offensive rebound from sophomore forward TaShawn Thomas and veteran play from a freshman to come away with a 80-75 victory.
Freshman forward Danuel House hit four clutch free throws in the final minute, putting the game out of reach. House said he was confident taking the free throws because he’s put in extra work in practice.
“I wasn’t thinking about missing because I knew Coach (James) Dickey would have jumped all over me if I would have missed them.”
After eight 3-pointers in the first half led the Cougars to a 46-32 lead, the Panthers made it tough for the Cougars to avenge their first loss of the season with a second half run.
The Cougars had good movement during the first half and shot 50 percent from the field. The Cougars played inside out, which led to good shots from long distance. Redshirt sophomore Joseph Young and House both hit three shots beyond the arc. House said he has been working on getting better from long distance.
“I spend a lot of time practicing 3-pointers. Brandon Morris and I practice shooting every day with Coach (Ronnie) Hamilton,” House said. “We shoot 25 3-pointers from each spot on the court. Being able to make those shots today meant a lot to me because it showed that hard work and effort pay off.”
The second half was a different story though.
After scoring 27 points in the first contest, junior guard Jourdan DeMuynck matched that output in this game, but did most of his damage after the break. He was also able to get to the rim in transition and finish. DeMuynck kept his team in the game in the second half where he scored 20 points and 16 of the Panthers’ first 20.
“DeMuynck is getting NBA calls already … He plays like an old man,” said Prairie View head coach Byron Rimm II.
“He’s not flashy. He doesn’t just try to dunk or shoot 3s. In transition, he pulls up for a five foot jumper, and he always hits that.”
The Cougars were able to slow down DeMuynck after Dickey’s substitution placed a smaller defender on him.
The Cougars were one wing short and decided to play junior point guard Tione Womack and sophomore point guard J.J. Thompson at the same time. Thompson has more experience and would be more physical, Dickey said.
DeMuynck was not as much of a factor the rest of the way.
The Cougars’ second half offense struggled too: their 3-pointers didn’t fall in the second half, they hit only one shot from long distance, their ball movement wasn’t as good and they shot 34.5 percent from the field.
The team won, but there are still things to work on, Dickey said.
“They outrebounded us, had 38 points off turnovers and second shots and that is really disappointing … I blame that last seven minutes on me as far as the offense,” Dickey said.
“The other thing I’m really highly disappointed in was how undisciplined we were. There were situations where we have to be more disciplined.”