Despite strong offensive performances from sophomore forward TaShawn Thomas and redshirt sophomore guard Joseph Young, UH fell to Memphis 81-74.
The Cougars kept the game competitive, but the Tigers capitalized on two big runs to lock up their 17th straight victory Wednesday at the FedEx Forum.
Memphis, long considered the class of Conference USA and frequently a contender on the national stage, at times struggled against the Cougars’ defense. UH scored 26 points off of 19 Memphis turnovers, but the Cougars were dominated on the glass. Memphis held a 40-25 advantage on the boards by the final buzzer and scored 18 second-chance points.
Memphis sophomore forward Adonis Thomas particularly gave the Cougars fits, pulling down 6 offensive rebounds and scoring 22 points on 17 shots. Junior guard Chris Crawford also lit the Cougars up on the boards with 13 defensive rebounds and was an assist shy of a triple double.
The Cougars were able to hold their own through much of the game, largely thanks to efficient offense from Thomas, Young and freshman forward Danuel House. Together, the three shot 53 percent from the field for 58 of the Cougars’ 74 points.
Young’s 22 points came on 6-12 shooting from the field. Young’s true shooting percentage — an advanced metric that takes into account 3-point and free throw accuracy — was 69 percent. Indiana’s junior guard Victor Oladipo is the NCAA Men’s Division I leader in true shooting percentage at just under 72 percent.
The rest of the Cougars shot 35 percent from the field and registered only 12 assists on their 58 shots and were unable to move the ball effectively against the Memphis defense.
Redshirt freshman guard Jherrod Stiggers extended his hot streak from distance, notching his 57th 3-pointer of the season, good for a UH freshman season record. With the second trey, Stiggers eclipsed the record held jointly by Young and former Cougar Damon Jones.
With the victory, Memphis stays perfectly in conference play and leaves the Cougars with a disappointing 4-8 record in C-USA.