American play begins Friday with UH taking on UCF
The Cougars tipoff competition against teams in the American on Friday evening in the Fertitta Center when the Knights come into town.
Houston enters the game winners of four-straight, and they are coming off of arguably their most impressive win of the season when the team was able to overcome a 14-point deficit to defeat then No. 21 Washington to win the Diamond Head Classic.
In the tournament, the Cougars were led by junior forward Fabian White Jr., who was named MVP of the classic after averaging 14.7 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.
“We got to come out and play hard every game cause everyone wants their revenge on us from last year,” said White Jr. on the mentality the team needs to have in the upcoming conference games.
Sophomore guard Quentin Grimes also played a huge role in Houston’s success in Hawaii as he broke out of a mini-slump during the tournament and averaged 19.3 points and 4.3 assists a game, which earned him a spot on the All-Tournament Team.
A look at UCF
UCF comes into Friday with a 9-4 record on the season, but they have lost two straight games after riding a six-game winning streak, which includes a loss in their first game against an AAC opponent in Temple. The Knights fell to the Owls 58-62.
Junior forward Collin Smith leads UCF with 13.3 points per game. Senior guard Dazon Ingram has been like a swiss-army knife for the Knights as he leads them in three different categories averaging 7.5 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.1 steals per contest.
“Another coach that I think is not getting enough credit for what he’s done is Johnny (Dawkins) in Central Florida,” head coach Kelvin Sampson said earlier this week. “Look at what they lost. They lost Tacko (Fall), they lost Aubrey Dawkins, and they lost B.J. Taylor. Those are three All-Conference players, and here they are…”
Houston is 15-11 against UCF in the all-time series.
Friday evening’s American opener for Houston will be the only meeting between the two teams this season. UCF won the last game between the two 69-64, which was also at Fertitta Center.
Houston is 5-1 in AAC openers and is 5-2 at home this season. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN2.