Coogs look to hurdle Herd

This winning streak has been a little different. The Cougars have not exactly followed the protocol that led them to seven consecutive victories at the beginning this season.

Houston has won each of its contests in the month of February by playing a balanced, quick-striking style of offense and surrendering totally to associate head coach Melvin Haralson’s defensive philosophies.

It’s a different style of winning in which defense is the focal point and everybody touches the ball on offense in the half court. It’s also a style that allows the Cougars to get more points in transition.

This style of winning may still require consistent scoring nights from leading scorers, guards Aubrey Coleman and Kelvin Lewis, but contributions from the other three starters, each with his own forte, have given the Cougars the edge in their recent four-game winning streak.

Houston will take on Marshall in a 6 p.m. matchup at the Cam Henderson Center in Huntington, W. Va. with that in mind. Especially point guards Zamal Nixon and Desmond Wade, who switched starting roles five games ago in Memphis.

The two saw plenty of playing time together in Saturday’s win over Tulane because a foul-plagued Coleman spent most of the game on the bench.

Nixon knows he can’t expect to see Coleman sitting on the bench too often, but since he and Wade proved to be viable options with the team’s most dynamic player on the bench, they can expect to see more time on the court together. Wade has been coming off of the bench for Houston since its Jan. 31 loss to Memphis.

‘It works out well all the time,’ Nixon said. ‘With Aubrey (Coleman) playing so good this year, there hasn’t been much time for anyone to get at that two-ball position. That is why you have seen me and Desmond (Wade) splitting point-guard minutes. With he and I, it always goes well.’

With a 16-7 record and a 7-3 showing in Conference USA, the Cougars hold their position at second place in league play going into tonight’s game.

As he did against Tulane, Central Florida and Southern Methodist, Houston head coach Tom Penders could have the chance to extend his rotation against the Thundering Herd (11-14, 3-7 C-USA), giving players valuable experience heading into March and the postseason tournaments.

‘This shows everybody that we can go really deep,’ Nixon said. ‘There are guys on this team that do not even play, but if they got put on another team in the country they would be starting.’

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