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Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Men's Basketball

Kelvin Sampson: UH was ‘outscrapped’ by Wichita State in loss


UH guard Quentin Grimes (24) lobbies the officials that it should be the Cougars' ball against Wichita State on Thursday at Charles Koch Arena. UH head coach Kelvin Sampson said after the game that the Shockers were tougher on the boards than the Cougars. | Khanh Nguyen/The Sunflower

UH guard Quentin Grimes (24) lobbies the officials that it should be the Cougars’ ball against Wichita State on Thursday at Charles Koch Arena. UH head coach Kelvin Sampson said after the game that the Shockers were tougher on the boards than the Cougars. | Khanh Nguyen/The Sunflower

The Houston men’s basketball team saw its lead in the American Athletic Conference slip away on Thursday after falling to Wichita State on Thursday night.

The Cougars (17-3, 11-3 AAC) had a chance to steal a win on the road in the closing seconds of the game after sophomore guard Tyson Etienne missed a one-and-one free-throw but immediately gave the opportunity back just three seconds later on a turnover by UH senior guard DeJon Jarreau.

That led to a worst-case scenario, flagrant-two foul on senior forward Justin Gorham, which saw him get ejected and turned into four points for the Shockers.

“There was no way we were going to call timeout because we had them in retreat,” UH head coach Kelvin Sampson said after the game. “Just attack it. DeJon is the perfect guy to do that. There is absolutely no reason why he should have passed that ball there.”

With the loss, the Cougars fell 3 percentage points below the Shockers in the standings, and are in second place in the conference.

Wichita State (13-4, 9-2 AAC) hit 10 3-pointers in the win, shooting 45.5 percent from behind the arc for the game, which was one of the factors that Sampson gave credit to the Shockers for excelling in.

“They made some tough shots,” Sampson said. “In the games that we’ve lost, teams have shot the ball well from the 3-point line. That’s an area we’ve guarded well all season, but I’m glad that our guys didn’t quit. They just kept grinding.”

One of the bright spots for UH was the return of senior forward Fabian White Jr, who his first minutes since last March in the first half. He had three points and one rebound in nine minutes.

UH led 30-19 in the first half, but were outscored 25-4 in a stretch that lasted from that period and into the second half. 

For Sampson, the game changed when DeJon Jarreau and Justin Gorham got into foul trouble at the end of the first half and did not play the final 10 minutes of the period.

The Shockers continued their hot streak after halftime, going on an 11-0 run to start the second half, and did not surrender the lead. Wichita State also out-rebounded the Cougars 21-14 in the second period, which included nine offensive boards.

“It’s always disappointing in our program when we’re out-scrapped on the boards,” Sampson said. “They did to us what we usually do to other teams.”

Now that UH has been pushed out of the front seat, the Cougars will look to rebound again. Their game against Cincinnati is still scheduled to go on this Sunday at Fertitta Center, but the ongoing power outages and water issues across the city could play a role.

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