UH’s future on display in win over Lamar
No. 17 Houston came into Wednesday’s contest as heavy favorites against Lamar, and from the opening minutes of the first half, UH wasted no time jumping ahead.
The first basket of the 2020-21 season for the Cougars (1-0) belonged to junior guard Quentin Grimes, who hit a 3-pointer from the wing. UH defeated the Cardinals 89-45.
The game, however, belonged to sophomore guard Marcus Sasser, who hit five 3-pointers in the first half and finished the game with 25 points and seven 3’s overall, which is a Fertitta Center record.
“I see it every day in practice, so I knew it was going to pay off in a game,” senior guard DeJon Jarreau said. “He shoots when he is open. He is unselfish. One of our best shooters.”
As for the Cougars’ big men, which is the most changed unit from a season ago, seniors Justin Gorham and Brison Gresham combined for 10 points and eight rebounds.
While the offensive numbers were not eye-poppers, head coach Kelvin Sampson was most impressed with their production on the defensive side of the ball. Both seniors will be expected to play key roles on that end for the Cougars this season.
“Their pick and roll coverage defense was good,” Sampson said. “I thought they did a good job of keeping that team off the glass. I thought they did a lot of good things.”
The big addition to UH’s roster over the summer was freshman guard Tramon Mark, and he showed why there was a lot of buzz in his first collegiate game.
Although he went scoreless in the first half, which the UH head coach attributed to anxiousness and nerves, the 6-foot-5-inch Dickinson native caught a rhythm in the second period as he racked up 22 points and knocked down two 3-pointers. He also secured eight boards in the win.
While this was Mark’s first official action for UH, his teammates have been watching his skillset first-hand in practice for the past month and were not surprised by what he showed.
“He can shoot. He can pass. He can get in the lane and finish at the rim,” Jarreau said. “He is a very good player. A three-level scorer.”
As for the other additions, freshman guard Jamal Shead also had good minutes when he came in for the Cougars. Although the Manor product only scored two points, he did a little bit of everything as he also blocked four shots and had three assists.
“I know how good he is as a defender,” Sasser said. “He blocks shots in practice, so I am not surprised.”
Redshirt freshman J’Wan Roberts garnered six rebounds in the win, and junior transfer Reggie Chaney added five of his own. Sophomore guard Cameron Tyson also made his UH debut and hit two 3-pointers.
With the performance of the young talent, the Cougars showed that this year’s roster has a lot of potential to grow, and it has a lot of the staff buzzing to see how it develops.
“The thing I am excited about our program is how many good young players we have,” Sampson said. “They all bring something different.”