With the Cougars leading 80-79 with :06 on the shot clock, TCU point guard J.R. Cadot sped through the lane and sent an errant shot at the rim. In a flash, Cadot caught his own miss, flipped the ball over his head into the basket and hushed Hofheinz Pavilion.
On a night when TCU grabbed 15 offensive rebounds, it was fitting for UH’s (3-2) double-digit comeback to fall short 81-80 because of a second-chance basket.
“I think it’s pretty simple, the play that beat us is the one true telling stat, 15 offensive rebounds,” head coach James Dickey said.
“We talked to our guys, and it’s not the first shot that beats you, but more times than not it’s the second shot. We just did not defend the last six seconds well.”
The Cougars went into the half down 43-34, shooting 48 percent from the field. The offense ran smoothly at times, but UH’s ten first-half turnovers allowed the Horned Frogs to put up nine more shots than they did in the first 20 minutes.
Houston faced an 11-point deficit before freshman J.J. Thompson and sophomore forward Alandise Harris provided an offensive jolt to start the second half.
Down 55-49, Harris closed the gap to within four points with a layup.
Harris finished the evening with 16 points on 8-10 shooting to go with three blocks and four rebounds.
“I wasn’t just going to let them put the game away,” Harris said.
“As a team, we’ve got to take clutch situations more seriously, in the game and in practice.”
With just under six minutes remaining, UH’s defense gained intensity, as Thompson forced two turnovers to awaken the offense, and stir the 3,357 attendees.
With the momentum of their defense, the Cougars stayed within striking distance of the Frogs as the clock dwindled down. With 44 seconds left on the clock, redshirt freshman Joseph Young nailed back-to-back 3-pointers from the corner to put the Cougars within a point of TCU.
Out of the media timeout, Thompson drove through the lane and put in an off-balance runner to give the Cougars their first lead since the five-minute mark of the first half.
“Those threes really got the crowd hyped,” Harris said. “It got us back the lead, but also got us back into the game too.
“Those shots built up our momentum to try and finish off the game.”
With the clock showing six seconds, TCU’s out-of-bounds play failed initially, but worked well enough to give Cadot a path to basket. A bit of luck helped Cadot as he flicked the ball over his head, but it was UH’s broken defensive effort that did them in.
“I was proud the way our guys competed, but when you get down and analyze it, we’re not defending very well,” Dickey said.
“We give up 81 points. We give up 43 in the first half. There are areas we’ve got to get better in for us to have as good a team as we can have.”