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Monday, January 24, 2022

Men's Basketball

Cougars continue to roll


Freshman point guard J.J. Thompson was one of five Cougars to score in double figures in their 87-78 win over Arkansas on Friday. Richardson scored 10 points, grabbed three boards and dished out three assists. | Aaron Cisneros/The Daily Cougar

The Cougars won an important game in front of a nationally-televised audience to remain undefeated.

That may sound like another team on campus, but this is in reference to UH men’s basketball. UH is 3-0 after an 87-78 victory against Arkansas on Friday at the Verizon Arena in North Little Rock, Ark.

With less than three minutes remaining in the first half, the Cougars rallied from an eight-point deficit, going on a 10-2 run to make it 36-36 at the half. The Razorbacks were without their best player in junior forward Marshawn Powell, but that shouldn’t take away from the win’s significance.

It was a homecoming for sophomore forward Alandise Harris, who is a native of Little Rock, Ark. He was the Cougars’ second-leading scorer with 18 points, and also grabbed six rebounds.

A ferocious putback dunk in the second half landed him the SportsCenter’s No. 1 play on SportsCenter on Friday. His family only gets to watch him on TV — he made a strong showing for them in person.

Junior forward Kirk Van Slyke again set a career-high for points, leading UH with 19 off of the bench.

Freshman point guard Joseph Young had an off game, shooting 2-of-11. But junior guard Jonathon Simmons filled in to score a season-high of 16 points, and made 6-of-8 field goals.

The season is still in its infancy, but last year’s team likely would have not pulled off a come-from-behind win on the Razorbacks’ home court.

It’s early, but second-year head coach James Dickey has put his brand on this program.

UH made more than half of its shots, and built a 15-point cushion at one point. The Razorbacks rallied to cut the deficit to four, but the Cougars did what winning teams do — they closed out the game.

Timely defense, taking smart shots and an up-tempo style on offense embody Dickey’s philosophy. The remainder of the non-conference schedule is not easy, but the athleticism on the roster makes many of those contests winnable.

UH has nine more games before the conference schedule begins Jan. 4. The next four games against Oakland, TCU, LSU and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi will shed more light on this squad’s identity.

The Cougars and the Grizzlies (1-2) will tip off at 7:15 p.m. on Tuesday at Hofheinz Pavilion.

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