UH takes care of business in OT
The Cougars haven’t had the greatest luck in close games this season, losing five of eight games decided by five points or less.
The Cougars were a tenth-of-a-second away from losing another close game at the buzzer.
With 13 seconds left in regulation, and the game tied 66-66, UTEP wound the clock down and saw CJ Cooper’s last-second heave from beyond the arc, find the bottom of the net.
The bucket stunned the 4,358 in attendance at Hofheinz Pavilion on Saturday, while UTEP celebrated at midcourt.
After being reviewed by officials, the basket was waved off and the Cougars gained new life in overtime, where they prevailed 81-76.
The Cougars played from behind almost the entire game, trailing by as many as 15, but a 17-5 run with six minutes and 44 seconds to go helped give UH the lead for the first time since the first half.
“We didn’t play well after about the 12-minute mark in the first half,” Head Coach James Dickey said. “UTEP played very well. They changed their defense and they were relaxed offensively.”
However, the second half was a different story.
“We started moving the ball, looking for others and started going to the offensive boards, not settling with just missing and getting back on defense,” forward Alandise Harris said.
UH rose to the occasion and won the battle of points in the paint (34-30) where they, statistically, had trailed (6-16) in the first half.
“Coming out of the locker room, we wanted to make a concerted effort to get the ball inside,” Dickey said. “I felt like in the second half, we attacked when they allowed us to attack.”
Freshman guard Joseph Young, provided a second-half spark off of the bench.
In a night where bench points were hard to come by, Young provided UH with eight timely points that helped jump start UH’s second-half surge.
“This was big from Joe, especially since Joe has not been feeling well lately,” junior Jonathon Simmons said.