UH-Tulane rundown: Cougars to face pesky Green Wave defense
No. 11 Houston has won two straight games after suffering its first loss to Tulsa, and it will look to continue its current streak when it hosts Tulane on Saturday afternoon at Fertitta Center.
The Cougars (9-1, 4-1 American Athletic Conference) are coming off a 70-63 win over Wichita State on Wednesday.
UH exploded in the second half, with junior guard Quentin Grimes scoring 20 of the team’s 50 points in the period.
Seniors Justin Gorham and DeJon Jarreau had a double-doubles in the win, and sophomore guard Marcus Sasser had 12 points.
A look at the Green Wave
Tulane enters Saturday’s contest off its first conference win against East Carolina.
In the Green Wave’s 60-56 win, sophomore guard Jaylen Forbes led with 20 points and three rebounds.
“(Gabe) Watson, (Jaylen) Forbes, (Jordan) Walker, those guys are going to take most of the shots,” UH head coach Kelvin Sampson told reporters in a Zoom meeting on Friday.
While Tulane is off to only a 1-2 start against AAC opponents, one of its biggest strengths has been its defense.
“They have an identity in their matchup zone,” Sampson said. “They’re really good at it. They fly around. It caused 21 turnovers in their last game on Saturday.”
In 2020-21, the Green Wave is averaging eight steals per game. Tulane also has the second-best turnover margin in the AAC.
In addition to Tulane’s defense, Sampson said the Green Wave do a good job at spreading out opposing defenses. At the five position in particular.
Tulane’s big men are in constant motion and are looking to set on ball screens, Sampson said. They also spend a good portion of their time outside of the paint, which takes away one of the Cougars’ strengths because it forces UH’s big men to also stretch out towards the perimeter.
That puts UH out of position to crash the boards at times and also protects the paint, Sampson said, which is what SMU gave the Cougars a problem with in their contest.
While the Green Wave are heavy underdogs entering Saturday’s game, they have been competitive in their three conference games.
“I like their team,” Sampson said. “They play hard. Well coached, and they have gotten better.”