Self reflection allows Cougars to rout Braves
Following a loss to San Jose State on Saturday, head coach James Dickey told his players that they could either mourn the defeat or change their attitude heading into a matchup against Alcorn State (3-5) only two days later.
The Cougars did the latter.
With four players scoring in double-figures, the Cougars’ balanced scoring attack led them to a home win. UH was led by its big men as it defeated Alcorn State 89-58 at Hofheinz Pavilion on Monday. The win moved the Cougars to 7-4 with a 6-1 home record.
The Cougars scored 46 points in the paint, pounding the ball inside and then working it outside. Sophomore forward Danrad Knowles scored a career-high 19 points and grabbed four rebounds. Junior forward TaShawn Thomas nearly had a double-double with 19 points and nine rebounds while senior forward J.J. Richardson also contributed 11 points and three rebounds.
The strong play inside created open looks on the perimeter, allowing sophomore guard Jherrod Stiggers to finish with 16 points, three rebounds and four 3-pointers.
“That’s how coach wants us to play with a more balanced contribution on the scoreboard… but it hadn’t happened yet,” said junior forward TaShawn Thomas.
The Cougars seemed to be clicking on all cylinders both defensively and offensively. Their offense was efficient and did a good job sharing the ball, finding the open man and playing like a team, Dickey said. The Cougars shot 62 percent from the field and 50 percent from beyond the arc. The Cougars finished with 18 team assists.
“Our interior passing was as good tonight as it’s been all year, with Richardson, (Knowles) and (Thomas) inside and (junior forward) Mikhail (McLean),” Dickey said.
UH led 43-29 at the break, but it didn’t let up. The Cougars outscored Alcorn State by 15 points in the second half and finished with 17 fast break points.
On defense, the Cougars were able to stymie the Braves’ offensive attack. Alcorn State shot 34 percent from the field and completed only 26 percent of attempts from the 3-point line. Knowles said the defense stepped up.
“Our defense was outstanding,” Knowles said. “We rotated well, talked a lot, communicated great, but it could get better.”
UH got back on track against Alcorn State after three losses in its last four games, putting together two consistent halves of basketball. When the Cougars were winning early on in the season, everyone got complacent, Thomas said. The losses gave the Cougars a chance for reflection and the team responded with more focus, Thomas said.
“Everybody was tired of losing, everyone was mad (about) how we lost the last game, having the lead and letting them come back so everybody was more hungry this game,” Thomas said.