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Saturday, June 10, 2023

Men's Basketball

San Jose State hands UH its first home loss

Senior guard Brandon Morris hit four 3-pointers en route to a career-high 17 points. | Courtesy of UH Athletics

Senior guard Brandon Morris hit four 3-pointers en route to a career-high 17 points. | Courtesy of UH Athletics

President Renu Khator, the UH football team and 3,105 fans were on hand to watch as the Cougars lost a heartbreaker during Friday’s fan appreciation night at Hofheinz Pavilion.

San Jose State rallied back from a 15-point second-half deficit to defeat UH 72-68, handing the Cougars their first home loss of the season.

“They hit some big shots, but we have a 15-point lead with nine minutes to go in the second half, and they outscored us by 19 down the stretch,” said head coach James Dickey.

San Jose State was led by freshman guards Jalen James who had a triple-double, and Rashad Muhammad who scored 16 of his 21 points in the second half and hit a 3-point dagger with 1:32 left in the second half that helped seal its comeback win.

The Spartans went on an 18-1 run down the stretch during the second half and also made nine 3-pointers in the second half while the Cougars didn’t close out on shooters and were stagnant on offense, Dickey said.

“We were standing around too much, and I just didn’t do a good enough job getting our guys moving and popping,” Dickey said. As a result we got tentative and, that’s what that defense is designed to do. I didn’t prepare our guys as well as I needed to.”

Sophomore guard Jherrod Stiggers and senior guard Brandon Morris both had career scoring nights coming off the bench. Stiggers had 20 points with four 3-pointers, and Morris contributed 17 points with four 3-pointers, but Dickey said rebounding is a problem.

“Brandon (Morris) shot the ball well, and was our leading rebounder with five,” Dickey said. “We didn’t have one guy get over five rebounds, and it all starts with defensive rebounding.”

The Cougars would like to get the ball to junior forward TaShawn Thomas in the post more, because he only took nine shots, Dickey said.

Thomas could see more touches with the announcement that sophomore forward Danuel House will be out indefinitely, after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery.

This will be a big loss for the Cougars, since House was their second-leading scorer with 15.6 points per game and 5.7 rebounds.

House has begun the rehabilitation process with the team’s medical personnel, but a timetable for his return is not yet known.

In his absence, Dickey has experimented with the starting lineup, inserting Brandon Morris at shooting guard, and moving Stiggers to play House’s small forward spot.

The rotation changed again against San Jose State, with a starting lineup of forwards J.J. Richardson, Thomas, LeRon Barnes, and guards Tione Womack, and L.J. Rose.

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