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Friday, September 29, 2023

Men's Basketball

Sampson: ‘we disrespected our program’ in loss to Oklahoma State

Head coach Kelvin Sampson did not hold back his frustration after Houston's loss to Oklahoma State on Sunday at Feritta Center, saying afterwards, "we disrespected our program." | File photo

Head coach Kelvin Sampson did not hold back his frustration after Houston’s loss to Oklahoma State on Sunday at Fertitta Center, saying afterwards, “we disrespected our program.” | File photo

Head coach Kelvin Sampson was not happy after Houston’s 61-55 loss Sunday afternoon at Fertitta Center to Oklahoma State.

“Very rarely do you see a team come in here and outcompete us,” he said afterwards, “and I think that’s the thing that bothers me the most.”

The Cougars saw their four-game winning streak come to an end after Houston was unable to overcome an atrocious first-half performance and fell short despite a monster rally in the second half.

“Losing a game, I’m not a fan, but I don’t overreact to losing a game. But the way we lost that game today, we were down 18, and we came back and tied it,” Sampson said. “Where was the team that tied it?”

Houston struggled tremendously offensively in this game, especially in the first half where the team went through a stretch of over eight minutes of game action where they did not hit a single basket.

The drought extended into the second half, and during the struggle, Oklahoma State was able to build as much as an 18-point lead.

At halftime, Houston had only made seven field goals, and three of them had come from sophomore guard Nate Hinton, all during a two minute stretch on three-straight possessions where he was left open from the 3-point line.

For the first time this season, sophomore guard Quentin Grimes went scoreless in a game, going 0 for 7 and even missing his lone free throw of the night.

“I don’t have an explanation for (Grimes’ struggles),” Sampson said.

Following a strong week in which the team got arguably the best win of the season when they went to South Carolina and won convincingly, the Cougars begin this week with a loss.

“I get that we are young,” Sampson said, “but playing with a sense of urgency and playing hard and playing some toughness about you, we just haven’t done a good enough job in that area, not for consistency.”

Although Houston was able to rally after the dull first-half performance, that leads to more frustration for the coaching staff.

“It’s a double-edged sword,” Sampson said. “I have no idea why we would not come out (ready to play) today.

“That team was a lot better prepared to play this game than we were and ultimately that comes down to the coach.”

Redshirt freshman guard Caleb Mills was one of the few bright spots for Houston, finishing with 23 points, 20 of which came in the second half, but the silver lining to this game is not good enough for Sampson.

“Mills shouldn’t have to be our best player today,” he said. “Because no one could make a basket, we were kind of putting too much on his plate too, and that wasn’t fair to him.”

Sampson did not hold back after the game in making it clear how frustrating this loss was.

“Just play to your identity,  play to the culture of your program,” Sampson said. “And today we disrespected our program, and we disrespected a lot of the kids that have come through here over the years, and that is disappointing.”

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