Cougars dominate Tulane in final game on home court
The Cougars looked dominant in their 82-53 win against Tulane on Wednesday night at Hofheinz Pavilion.
The Cougars (14-15, 6-9 Conference USA) put on a show for their final home game of the season, making sure they got off to a hot start, outscoring Tulane 27-7 in the first 10 minutes.
UH guard Jonathan Simmons spurred the early charge, scoring 12 of his game-high 23 points in the first half with a dizzying array of moves.
“I was just ready to play anxious to get after these guys,” Simmons said.
As a team, UH had one of its best offensive nights of the season, shooting 60.3 percent from the field and dominating the points in the paint by a margin of 20 (46-26).
All five starters scored in double digits, led by Simmons’ 23 points. Freshman forward TaShawn Thomas scored 13.
Joseph Young scored 12 points and Alandise Harris added 11 points. The Cougars also showed good ball movement, picking up 20 assists on 35-made field goals.
“We got deep post position, got our man deeper under the goal, so the guards could give us the ball in a good spot,” Thomas said.
“All the big men were playing very well in practice, so I knew we had a good chance to come out this game and play well.”
The Cougars started the second half just like they did the first, on fire, scoring the first eight points of the half, putting the game out of reach.
Defense was also a factor in the win.
“We played defense, we got stops and we helped each other,” Simmons said. “Defense wins games and our offense is going to come.”
It was only fitting that on senior night, lone senior,
Darian Thibodeaux got back on track, scoring 12 points and knocking down two big jumpers and two 3-pointers during the Cougars’ first-half explosion. He also recorded a game-high 7 assists.
Thibodeaux was also assigned with the daunting task of sticking guard Rickey Tarrent, the Green Wave’s leading scorer, who finished with zero points — an accomplishment Thibodeaux took pride in.
“He still played a good game, just did not score but it was a mindset overall, just having the will to try and stop somebody from scoring,” Thibodeaux said. Tarrent was averaging a conference-best 20 points per game in C-USA games.
“I’m really happy for Darian, especially on senior night, he really looked like the Darian Thibodeaux of old, flying around and knocking down shots,” head coach James Dickey said. “I told our guys that I’m happy that we won, but let’s get ready for Rice.”