No. 6 UH routs Alcorn State in return to court
No. 6 Houston’s defense made up for sloppy offensive play in Saturday’s 88-55 win against the Alcorn State Braves.
The Cougars forced 16 turnovers and held the Braves to under 37 percent from the field.
This was the Cougars’ first game since Dec. 5 when they won against South Carolina due to COVID-19 issues, and the first for the Braves in almost a month.
Both teams struggled on the offensive side of the ball early as the long break from action both teams endured was evident.
Nagging injuries and a long COVID-19 list had shrunk the Cougars’ active roster to just nine players for Sunday’s game.
With key players such as sophomore guards Marcus Sasser and Caleb Mills out, this impromptu matchup with the Braves allowed others to see more minutes.
Freshman guard Jamal Shead got his first collegiate start and made the most of it as he ended the game with 10 points and forced many turnovers on defense, although only credited with two steals.
Junior forward Reggie Chaney had a career-high 18 points in just 20 minutes.
Senior forward Justin Gotham was dominant on the boards all afternoon as he recorded a game-high 16 rebounds.
The Braves turned the ball over eight times in their first 13 possessions as double-teams and frequent switches from the Cougars’ defense remained the harbinger of mistakes for the Braves offense all afternoon.
After 11 minutes of play the Cougars had forced 11 turnovers and allowed just 4 points.
At the end of the first half, the Cougars led 35-18. The two squads shot a dismal 1-19 from behind the arc as both squads were out of sync on offense.
It took the Braves until the second half to record an assist, and they ended the game with a poor 5-17 assist to turnover ratio.
The Cougars struggled from the free-throw line. They came into the game shooting 80 percent from the stripe but were only able to shoot 16-28.
The Cougars could also not get it going from behind the arc as they shot a poor 6-22.
Junior guard Quentin Grimes recorded a double-double with a team-high 27 points along with 10 rebounds.
Conference play in the American Athletic Conference starts on Tuesday for the Cougars as they take on the Temple Owls at the Fertitta Center.