Cougars go cold
The Cougars’ season ended on Wednesday night in the opening round of the Conference USA Tournament thanks to a late push by UTEP.
After seeing their eight-point second half lead vanish, the Cougars found themselves in overtime and they just couldn’t put the ball in the bucket.
“We settled for too many jump shots and we missed too many free throws,” head coach James Dickey said.
UH went 2-9 in the extra period and missed both of its free throw attempts.
The Cougars’ guards had a woeful shooting night.
UH guards Joseph Young, Darian Thibodeaux, Jonathan Simmons and J.J. Thompson combined to shoot 8-38 from the field.
As a team, UH shot 38 percent from the field, making just four of its 23 three-point attempts and six of its 15 free throw shots.
“When you analyze the whole game, there’s two things in my mind,” Dickey said. “One, we weren’t efficient enough offensively down the stretch, and two, you’re not going to win many games when your guards go 8-for-38.”
Guard play had been an important part of UH’s late-season run, but UTEP contained UH by mixing up its defenses, switching between man-to-man and several different zone attacks.
Forwards Alandise Harris and TaShawn Thomas each reached double-doubles.
Harris carried the Cougars with a game-high 25 points on 11-16 shooting to go with 12 rebounds. Thomas scored 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.
Coming out of a timeout with 14 seconds remaining in regulation and the score tied 58-58, UH drew up a play to get Harris the ball.
“We probably spent a little too much time in the backcourt,” Dickey said. “I think he got it with about four seconds. We should have gotten it to him a little bit earlier and certainly a little bit deeper towards the basket.
“Our guys, they’re disappointed, I’m disappointed. We just have to go back and get a few different pieces and we’ve got to get better.”