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Thursday, June 1, 2023

Men's Basketball

UH hangs on against Memphis, advances to AAC title game

UH forward Reggie Chaney gathers the ball as he prepares to power through the contact against Memphis on March 7 at Fertitta Center. | Andy Yanez/The Cougar

UH forward Reggie Chaney gathers the ball as he prepares to power through the contact against Memphis on March 7 at Fertitta Center. | Andy Yanez/The Cougar

The Houston men’s basketball team hung on for a 76-74 win against Memphis in the American Athletic Conference Tournament semifinals on Saturday evening in Fort Worth.

The Cougars and Tigers threw everything at each other, from tough contested layups to 3-pointers. Memphis sophomore guard Boogie Ellis and junior guard Quentin Grimes exchanged long-distance shots, but ultimately it was rebounding and free-throw shooting that sealed the deal for the Cougars.

“(The) toughest team is going to go out there and win,” Grimes told the ESPN2 broadcast after the game. “… We got one more to go. We can’t celebrate yet.”

After UH controlled most of the first half, Memphis scored the first five points coming out of halftime off Ellis and Williams baskets, but a floater from Jarreau and a dunk from Grimes pushed the Cougars’ lead back to double-digits.

UH was able to hover around a 10-point lead until the clock ticked under the 13-minute mark when Memphis tied the game at 46 on a 12-1 run, which set the mood for the finale as both teams took turns looking to create separation from that point forward.

The game was not without controversy when at around the five-minute mark in the second half, Memphis junior forward DeAndre Williams was called for his fifth foul after it looked like he hooked UH senior forward Brison Gresham, which meant that Williams had fouled out of the game.

However, the officials went to review the call and reversed it, saying it was Gresham that initiated the contact, which visibly made UH head coach Kelvin Sampson upset with the decision. This allowed Williams to remain in the game, but he ended up fouling out later on an offensive foul.

Grimes finished the game with 21 points, which included 5-of-8 shooting on 3-pointers. Senior forward Justin Gorham had 15 points and seven rebounds, which included two huge ones at the end of the game to seal the win.

The game started off with UH getting points off junior forward Reggie Chaney, senior forward Justin Gorham and sophomore guard Marcus Sasser, who scored the first 17 points for the team until Jarreau scored the 18th and 19th points.

Quentin Grimes did not get his first basket until the seven-minute mark in the first half when he was forced to shoot a 3-pointer as the shot clock was expiring.

The Cougars ended the first half with a steal after Boogie Ellis telegraphed a pass, and it turned into a two-handed slam by Grimes. As the time expired in the first half, Grimes let out a loud scream. 

UH will play against Cincinnati on Sunday at 2:15 p.m. in the AAC Tournament Championship Game.

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