MEN’S BASKETBALL: Bulldogs outmuscle Cougars, 99-94
For most of this season, the Cougars have been scrappier than their opponents.
This wasn’t the case in their 99-94 loss to Louisiana Tech on Tuesday at Hofheinz Pavilion.
UH’s lack of size proved to be a problem, as a gritty Bulldogs squad grabbed 23 more rebounds than the Cougars (7-4). Head coach Tom Penders said his team’s inability to constantly match Louisiana Tech’s energy was one of the reasons for the defeat.
‘I thought ‘hellip; they were a step quicker and outhustled us for some loose balls,’ Penders said.
The Bulldogs (12-2) – led by Olu Ashaolu’s 21 boards – swarmed the glass in the second half, outrebounding UH 28-12.
The Cougars were also unable to overcome a rough shooting night from their best players, Kelvin Lewis and Aubrey Coleman.
The senior duo scored 19 points a piece, but combined to shoot a dismal 14-of-38 from the field. Coleman struggled from the charity stripe as well, missing five of six free-throw attempts.
‘Shooters have nights like that. It’s how come back; you have to bounce back,’ Coleman said. ‘It’s frustrating, but I try not to think about it. I just go work on it.’
UH’s stars didn’t play at their peak, but they received a lot of help from the Cougars’ role players.
Adam Brown, starting his first game since Dec. 14, scored a team-high 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting. However, the junior guard was far from satisfied after the game.
‘It sucks,’ Brown said. ‘Simple as that.’
Zamal Nixon added 16 points, while Maurice McNeil chipped in 12 points and seven rebounds.
The contest’ was tied at 70 with 10:30 left in the second half, but the Bulldogs used their muscle to create separation. Louisiana Tech grabbed eight offensive boards during a 17-10 run that gave it an 87-80 advantage with 4:18 remaining.
Coleman nailed a jumper to cut the Cougars’ deficit to 95-91 with 1:17 left. He’ had another opportunity’ to’ cut into the Bulldogs’ lead’ on’ UH’s next possession, but missed two free throws with 58 seconds remaining.
After that, the Bulldogs did enough to stave off the Cougars’ comeback attempt.
UH took its only lead of the second half, 59-58, after Adam Brown made a 3-pointer with 15:56 remaining in the game.
Louisiana Tech quickly countered with an 8-0 run, capped by a Jamel Guyton layup, to gain a 66-59 advantage with 13:59 left.
The Cougars, however, mounted another charge, scoring 11 of the game’s next 15 points to tie the contest at 70 with 10:55 remaining. Coleman capped the offensive burst with a thunderous slam dunk that brought the crowd of 2,862 to their feet.
In the first half, the Bulldogs jumped out to a 13-8 lead before UH went on a 10-2 run, capped by an Adam Brown trey, to take an 18-15 lead with 13:41 remaining before halftime.
Kyle Gibson sent Louisiana Tech to the break’ holding a 47-46 advantage after he nailed a 30-foot 3-pointer just before the final buzzer of the opening half.
Magnum Rolle scored a game-high 29 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the Bulldogs. Gibson added 28 points, while Ashaolu put up 17.
The Cougars, who went 4-2 during their six-game homestand, will hit the road for the first time since November when they take on Texas-San Antonio at 1 p.m. Friday. Brown hopes that delivering a stronger effort on the boards will allow UH to avoid dropping back-to-back contests.
‘The Houston Cougars have to improve down there on the block,’ Brown said. ‘It’s not that we’re not capable, we just have to have the right mindset.
‘It’s nothing but heart.’