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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Men's Basketball

Houston comeback falls short against Kentucky


Senior guard Corey Davis Jr. and junior guard Armoni Brooks led the Cougars back from the brink, but it was not enough to win. | Ahmed Gul/The Cougar

The dream season ended for Houston with a 62-58 loss to Kentucky in the Sweet Sixteen after making a huge comeback to almost win it.

The Cougars could not get anything going in the first half, which ultimately cost the team its chance at victory despite a great second half.

“We had our chances. We certainly had our chances. We had a lot of good looks throughout the game,” said head coach Kelvin Sampson. “When you get this far, it’s always tough. It’s always hard to accept losing a game.”

Junior guard Armoni Brooks got the scoring started with a three-pointer and led the team through the first few minutes.

The game went back and forth and there were seven lead changes before Kentucky started to take control. Sloppy Houston attacks allowed Kentucky to score seven points off of three turnovers in the first ten minutes, and it just got worse from there.

Another issue for the Cougars was fouls. Houston had 10 fouls in the first half and many could have gone uncalled as likely as they were to be called.

The Wildcats also manhandled the Cougars on the boards 18-7, and the Cougars had just one offensive rebound and no second chance points in the first half.

A missing piece for the Cougars was senior guard Corey Davis Jr., who was just one-for-four in the first half and had five points, but three were from free throws.

Senior guard Galen Robinson Jr. did well by cutting into the paint and driving towards the basket to keep Houston in it. The hard work paid off as Houston made a surge in the middle of the second half to cut the lead down.

Sampson said that he just needed to help his team get back on track and adjusted to the larger Kentucky team.

“We’ve been down before. We were down 15 to LSU, came back and won by 6. I knew we were going to come back. That was never an issue,” Sampson said.

Brooks and his three-pointer game helped bring the team back and Davis Jr. got more involved in shot taking.

Houston also improved its rebounding and that gave it much needed second chance points to make it a four point game.

The Cougars were able to overcome a 13-point deficit to tie the game, and Davis Jr. cut inside to deliver a layup to take the team’s first lead since the opening minutes with just 3:25 remaining.

From there, it was back and forth and the game came down to the final possession. Kentucky had a 60 to 58 lead with 25.8 seconds remaining and Houston had the last shot.

Davis Jr. drove through the paint to make the tying layup, but the shot was partially blocked and Kentucky rebounded it to seal the game away.

Kentucky will advance to play Auburn on Sunday, while Houston’s incredible 33-win season has come to an end.

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