Cougars combine to go 9-4 over break
The month between fall and spring semesters can be a relaxing time for students, from spending time with family to catching up on work or sleep.
For the men’s and women’s basketball teams though, the break represents a busy time in the schedule as they start American Athletic Conference play.
For those who weren’t able to keep up with the 13 total games over the break, here’s a recap.
Houston 83 – University of Texas Rio Grande Valley 58
Behind a career-high 25 points from senior guard Damyean Dotson, the Cougars cruised to a 25-point victory. Four Cougars finished with double-digit scoring as they finished 10-28 from beyond the arc.
Houston 77 – Liberty University 54
Redshirt junior guard Rob Gray joined Dotson with 22 points each as the Cougars picked up their seventh-straight home win. Dotson added 10 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season.
Houston 56 – Harvard University 57
The Cougars dropped a heart breaking game to Harvard for their first home loss of the season. Gray was all over the scorebox with 15 points, three assists, a block and three steals. Despite leading 34-30 at halftime, Harvard held the Cougars to 22 second-half points as Gray’s last-second shot missed the mark.
Houston 62 – University of Connecticut 46
A stingy Cougar defense held the Huskies to 12 first half points as Houston picked up its first AAC win of the season. The Huskies had only six scholarship athletes at the game due to sickness and injury. The halftime score was 36-12. Gray led all scorers with 20.
Houston 70 – University of South Florida 56
Dotson and Gray led the Cougars with 25 points each as the Cougars shot over 45 percent on three-pointers to start 2-0 in AAC play. Junior guard Wes VanBeck continued his hot start, adding 11 points in 27 minutes off the bench.
Houston 64 – University of Tulsa 61
A career-high 16 points from VanBeck countered a slow start by the Cougars as they completed the comeback against the Golden Hurricane. Going 10-10 from the free point line, VanBeck proved a pivotal part of the team.
Overall the Cougars went 5-1 over the break, bringing them to 13-4 on the season. The Cougars have a chance of making the NCAA tournament with a strong conference performance. In their latest projection, CBS Sports has the Cougars playing in one of the four play-in games, making the tournament for the first time under head coach Kelvin Sampson.
Houston 69 – University of Louisiana-Lafayette 67
A career-high 23 points from freshman guard Jasmyne Harris powered the Cougars to their fifth win of the season. One of three Cougars in double-digits, Harris totaled a career-high 31 minutes off the bench.
Houston 56 – University of Texas-San Antonio 49
The Cougars picked up their third-straight win as their defense held the Road Runners to single-digit scoring in each of the first two quarters. Harris led all Cougars with 16 points as Houston held an opponent under 50 points for the first time this season.
Houston 55 – University of Central Arkansas 64
A 21-point fourth quarter wasn’t enough for the Cougars as the offense looked sluggish for the first three. The Cougars went 8-27 from the field in the first half. Career-highs in points from both Butler (18) and Hawkins (16) weren’t enough as no other Cougar totaled more than 8.
Houston 85 – Alcorn State University 70
Behind 18 points from Butler, the Cougars went on a 15-0 run to start the third quarter, shooting 75 percent in the period to end their non-conference schedule with a win. Four Cougars finished with double-digit scoring as Houston totaled a season-high 85.
Houston 71 – Tulsa 66
For the first time since the 2012-2013 season, the Cougars won their opening conference game behind double-doubles from Hawkins and senior center Jacqueline Blake. Houston caught fire in the second quarter, shooting 69.2 percent and taking a 39-32 lead they would never relinquish.
Houston 64 – University of Cincinnati 85
An 11-0 run to start the third quarter from the Bearcats proved to be too much for the Cougars to handle. A career-high 20 points from senior guard Kierra Graves wasn’t enough as three Bearcats topped the 20-point mark.
Houston 48 – University of Central Florida 62
A cold streak in the third quarter that featured seven straight missed 3s doomed the Cougars. The Cougars shot 15.4 percent for 3. Harris notched her second double-double behind a 10-point 11-rebound performance.
The Cougars finished 4-3 over the stretch, bringing their season record to 8-8 and eclipsing six wins for the first time since the 2012-2013 season. In his third season with the program head coach Ronald Hughey is showing the patience in him paying off as they have their best scoring offense, defense and differential in 4 years.