UH-Tulsa rundown: Kelvin Sampson praises Golden Hurricane
No. 5 Houston will be in the middle of three straight road conference games when Tulsa hosts the Cougars at Reynolds Center on Tuesday night.
UH (7-0, 2-0 American Athletic Conference) is coming off a 63-54 win over UCF on Saturday while the Golden Hurricane (4-3, 1-1 AAC) are coming off a 102-45 win over Southwestern Christian on Dec. 23.
Freshman guard Keshawn Williams led Tulsa in that win with 20 points off the bench on 8/8 shooting from the field.
Tulsa’s last conference game was a 56-49 win over Memphis.
“I love the way they’re coached,” UH head coach Kelvin Sampson said about Tulsa on Monday. “Their strength is how they’re put together. Playing (Brandon) Rachal at the four has made them a tougher matchup.”
Golden Hurricane’s seniors
Tulsa is led by two seniors guards in Rachal and Elijah Joiner.
Rachal leads the Golden Hurricane with 13.7 points and seven rebounds per game. Joiner is third on the team in scoring with 9.5 per contest and second in rebounding with 5.5.
“Elijah Joiner is one of my favorite players in the (AAC) because he is so hard nosed and tough,” Sampson said.
The Cougars’ head coach was complementary of the Golden Hurricane on Monday. He touted their team culture, and their ability to develop their centers.
Sampson also pointed out junior forward Rey Idowu, who is averaging 8.6 points and 4.9 boards per game, and senior center Emmanuel Ugboh, who is averaging 5.7 points and 2.9 rebounds a contest.
A look back at 2019-20
UH and Tulsa split their season series a year ago. The Golden Hurricane defeated the Cougars 63-61 in Oklahoma.
UH defeated Tulsa 76-43 in the second meeting at Fertitta Center.
Both the Cougars and Golden Hurricane finished with a share of the AAC regular season championship in 2019-20 along with Cincinnati.
Sampson expects Tuesday’s game between UH and Tulsa to be a difficult test for the Cougars.
“(Tulsa) is really well coached,” Sampson said. “I like the way they go about their business. They’re extremely competitive. They don’t back down from anybody. … They’re just a tough matchup for anybody.”