OctoberFest wraps up with friendly basketball competition

The OctoberFest Hardwood Tip-off event brought UH basketball fans on Thursday evening to the Athletics/Alumni Center, to help celebrate the beginning of the season by displaying the talents of both the men and women’s teams in a friendly competition between the two.

The single basketball court, with bleachers surrounding the sidelines, was the stage for the evening as fans filled the seats with their free banners, posters, food and T-shirts — provided by the staff — in heightened anticipation of the teams showing off in front of their supporters.

The coaches proudly presented their teams and filled the audience with cougar pride leading multiple cheers of “Go Coogs!”

“We are really excited about this group of men and we are excited about how hard they have worked,” said UH men’s basketball head coach James Dickey. “We look forward to giving you a good season.”

Competitions between the men and women players got the crowd going with a slam dunk contest and a skills and three-point competition.

The men competed among themselves in the slam dunk competition with high-flying tricks that landed redshirt freshman guard LeRon Barnes the first place spot that was awarded by the loud cheers of the audience.

Freshman forward Marche’ Amerson on the women’s team won the skills competition for being the fastest to complete an agility course.

The players were focused in every minute with the three-point competition bringing spectators to their feet as women’s redshirt senior guard Porsche Landry held on to her lead of five baskets against men’s redshirt sophomore guard Joseph Young.

“Tonight I was hoping to showcase our talent and to show what we have in store for the season,” said sophomore forward TaShawn Thomas. “My lowest expectation is to make it to the NCAA tournament this year.”

Two audience members were given the opportunity to win $10,000 by scoring a half-court basket if their ticket stub number was drawn. No one received any payment, but the crowd applauded the shots that fell short of the potential advances.

UH basketball memorabilia was also on sale to any fan who desired court side gear including hats, jerseys and T-shirts.

The UH basketball teams have their first home games this month, with the men’s team playing Florida A&M on Nov. 9 and the women against Alabama on Nov. 13.

“We appreciate you, we love you and we need you,” said women’s basketball head coach Todd Buchanan. “We will be taking names this season.”

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