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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Men's Basketball

Cougars continue hot streak in win over Tigers


The Cougars have won four of their last five games with the 98-90 home win over Memphis. | Justin Tijerina/The Cougar

The Cougar men’s basketball team was down 48-40 at halftime against the University of Memphis Tigers, but they mounted a comeback that led them to a 98-90 victory.

Head coach Kelvin Sampson said he felt the team didn’t have a lot of “juice” early in the game.

A lot of the Cougars’ shots weren’t falling and the Tigers had a 28-9 run over a stretch of 7:41 in the middle of the second quarter that put them up 42-30 with 3:39 left in the first half.

The Cougars buckled down on defense, however, and decreased their deficit to eight points going into halftime.

Coming out of halftime, Houston did their best to make sure they stopped Mempis’ two star players, Dedric Lawson and Shaq Goodwin, who Sampson praised postgame, calling them two “really good bigs.”

Coupled with the Cougars’ stout defense was the aggressive offensive attack led by senior forward Devonta Pollard, who had 34 points, 23 of which came in the second half.

Pollard dominated the game, shooting 14-24 from the floor. He did most of his better shooting in the second half, connecting on nine of his 13 shots, including one late in the shot clock while double-teamed near the baseline. Pollard also shot 6-8 from the free throw line, while collecting four rebounds and accounting for four assists.

When asked about his mindset during the game, Pollard said that he was willing to do whatever he had to do to help the team win.

Alongside Pollard was a solid performance from LeRon Barnes, who Sampson said was the unsung hero of the game. Barnes scored 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds in 36 minutes. Sampson said that when Memphis tried to creep away and widen their lead, Barnes would make the shots that would keep Houston in the game.

Overall, the Cougars had only eight turnovers, which Sampson attributed to the team having good discipline. Houston shot 56 percent from the field while only allowing Memphis to shoot 49 percent. The Cougars made 25 of their 32 free throws and shot 54 percent on three-pointers.

Up next for UH is a home matchup against the University of Central Florida Knights at 2 p.m. on Saturday.

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