Men's Basketball

Late-game woes continue for Cougars against Sooners

In his starting debut, freshman point guard J.J. Thompson scored seven points and dished out four assists in the Cougars 79-74 loss to Oklahoma on Saturday at Chesapeake Arena in the opening game of the All College Classic. | Aaron Cisneros/The Daily Cougar

A second-half surge from junior guard Steven Pledger and the Sooners netted a 79-74 win over the Cougars today at Chesapeake Arena at the All College Classic.

The Cougars (4-5) gained a nine-point advantage by starting the second half with a 12-0 run, but the Sooners (8-1) outscored the Cougars 35-21 in the final 15:41 to continue their best start since 2008-09.

“We have a possession to go up double figures, and we turn it over 3 straight times,” head coach James Dickey said. “They really responded, drove the ball hard, played physical and we didn’t respond. Those are areas we need to get better in.”

Pledger poured in a game-high 30 points and 10 rebounds, while shooting 10-13 from the field and 4-5 from deep.

“He makes it look effortless sometimes,” Dickey said. “He’s just smooth, very unselfish, smart, strong. He’s a terrific player. Coach Kruger and his staff have done a terrific job with him, and his teammates know how to find him.”

Junior guard Jonathan Simmons led UH with 20 points, his third 20-point performance in as many games.

The Sooners gained an advantage from the free throw line, connecting on 19-24 attempts. The Cougars managed just seven free throw attempts.

The Cougars also shook up their starting lineup. Freshman J.J. Thompson replaced redshirt freshman Joseph Young at point guard and junior Leon Gibson slotted in for sophomore Alandise Harris at forward.

Thompson finished with seven points and four assists in his starting debut. Young scored 10 points off of the bench.

Harris, the Cougars’ leading scorer for the season, fouled out and was limited to just 14 minutes.

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