Cougars clutch down stretch, stay undefeated
TaShawn Thomas left his fingerprints all over the game against Lehigh, setting a career high with seven blocks and finishing with 18 points and 13 rebounds.
The junior forward helped lead the Cougars to a 80-66 victory against the Mountain Hawks after they were trailing by one with four minutes remaining during the first game of the Progressive Legends Classic at Hofheinz Pavilion on Sunday.
Although UH was leading for the majority of the contest, Lehigh fought its way back to take a 58-54 lead with 7:41 left. But UH’s 17-2 run down the stretch allowed it to pull away.
With 4:07 remaining and down 64-63, sophomore guards L.J. Rose and Jherrod Stiggers gave their team the lead that it didn’t relinquish with back-to-back 3-pointers.
“When one of these guys hits a big shot, it’s like a shot in the arm of adrenaline to them, and then they get going,” said head coach James Dickey.
Rose finished with 18 points and six assists, and sophomore guard Danuel House contributed 22 points and five rebounds.
Similar to its game against UTSA, UH struggled at the beginning of the second half. Staring dull after halftime has been a problem for the Cougars lately, Rose said.
“Coming out in the second half, the first five minutes we tend to come out slow and methodical, and so I think if we can just correlate what we did at the end of the game (to) the first part of the second half, we’ll be fine,” Rose said.
Lehigh did well scoring points off turnovers with 14. The Cougars made a stand defensively, though, by out-rebounding their opponents 43-29 and blocking 14 shots.
UH hit the big shots when it counted down the stretch and it has moved the Cougars to 4-0.
“One thing I’m a firm believer in is you can execute your offense flawlessly and miss a shot, and it looks like you don’t play good,” Dickey said. “You can throw the ball around, somebody jumps up and hits a three, and everybody thinks you’re playing great. We simply made shots.”