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Saturday, March 25, 2023

Men's Basketball

Taze Moore brings infectious energy to UH

Taze Moore found a way to get himself involved in UH's Sweet 16 win over Arizona on Thursday despite spending the majority of the game on the bench. | Sean Thomas/The Cougar

Taze Moore found a way to get himself involved in UH’s Sweet 16 win over Arizona on Thursday despite spending the majority of the game on the bench. | Sean Thomas/The Cougar

SAN ANTONIO — In the biggest game of his life, Taze Moore spent more time on the bench than he did on the court.

The 6-foot-5-inch UH guard got into foul trouble early on Thursday night against Arizona, picking up two fouls in the game’s first five minutes and his third at the 9:22 mark of the first half.

As a result, Moore was a non-factor on the court.

“Tonight, (Taze) was in the witness protection program,” said UH head coach Kelvin Sampson after the Cougars’ Sweet 16 victory over Arizona. “I couldn’t find him nowhere.”

While it may appear that UH didn’t need Moore to knock off the South Region’s No. 1 seed due to his three points in 17 minutes, he contributed to UH advancing to the Elite Eight doing what he does best — bringing high-level energy.

“(Taze) didn’t have the greatest game but I don’t think people talk enough about his energy on the bench,” said UH starting point guard Jamal Shead. “Every bucket, every reaction, you see Taze on the bench as the first guy jumping up and down. He’s still over there jumping to the top of the ceiling and that preaches what we have here.”

Moore has consistently reinforced his willingness to do whatever it takes to put UH in the best position to win. Moore doesn’t care about putting up the flashy numbers, but rather, takes pride in the smaller things like his defense, rebounding and hustle after every loose ball.

“I’m an energy guy,” Moore said. “So whether I’m on the court or not, I just try to give those guys the energy.

While Moore would prefer to be on the court for as many minutes as he can, he has learned that there are other ways to impact winning.

So instead of pouting about having poor on-court performance, as he had against Arizona, Moore chooses to remain positive because he knows the energy he brings while on the bench fuels his teammates who are on the court.

“All (Sampson) asks of us is to come out and give him energy and effort,” Moore said. “I think the easiest thing that somebody can control is their attitude and their effort.”

The UH men’s basketball team understands Moore’s mere presence, whether he’s on the bench or running down the court, can not be quantified, as it lights a spark within the Cougars that helps elevate them to another level.

Taze’s a high-energy guy, said UH center Josh Carlton. It’s infectious too. It rubs off on you. Just having him around is always a plus even if he’s not playing, sitting with foul trouble. His presence is always going to be a plus.

Moore is looking to have a bounce-back performance against Villanova, describing it as a redemption game for himself. His teammates expect the same.

When asked about what he expects Moore to do in the South Region final on Saturday night against Villanova, Shead gave a simple answer.

“Just for him to be himself,” Shead said. “Taze been good for us all year. Why change that now?”

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