Men's Basketball

Thomas reaches milestone in upset win against Memphis

Fans rallied behind UH as junior forward TaShawn Thomas signaled for the crowd to get rowdy—and it came helped. The Cougars ended the game on a 14-5 run to pull off an upset against No. 21 Memphis 77-68.

Not only was this night a milestone in the record books for Thomas, but it was also his birthday.

Thomas grabbed a rebound at the 2:42 mark in the second half to become the seventh player in UH history to record at least 1300 points and 800 rebounds in their collegiate. He is accompanied by legends Hakeem Olajuwon, Clyde Drexler and Elvin Hayes.

“Growing up, I never thought I would even be mentioned with those guys, so being able to play at the same school, and being able to put my name alongside those is just an honor,” Thomas. Said. “I can definitely say that it’s one of the best birthdays I’ve ever had.”

Sophomore guard Danuel House’s clutch three pointer with 2:16 remaining gave Houston a 68-63 lead and helped the Cougars to pull away.

Head coach James Dickey changed the lineup to give the Cougars a spark off the bench. It paid off. They scored 44 bench points, largely contributed by House and Stiggers. House led all scorers with 19 points and three blocks. Stiggers had 14 points, including four 3-pointers.

Memphis dominated the frontcourt with 44 points in the paint.  Shaq Goodwin contributed 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Tigers. Freshman forward Austin Nichols had 12 points and four rebounds.

The Cougars came out swinging in this game and didn’t let up to start the second half, which has been an issue as of late.

UH extended its halftime lead to 40-33 with just under 19 minutes remaining, but Memphis held their composure and responded with a 15-4 run of their own. Michael Dixon Jr. led the run and his team with 19 points and four assists.

The game was nerve-racking for both ball clubs, which had 13 lead changes. Sophomore guard Jherrod Stiggers helped the Cougars retaliate with a 9-0 run after he hit back-to-back 3 pointers which gave the Cougars a 55-50 lead. But Memphis responded with a 6-0 run.

The Cougars prepped for this game by having no whistles in practice, Stiggers said. The difference between when the Cougars played the Tigers in Memphis was their mentality to play tough.

“We even got into a couple of arguments with the coaches over no whistles in practice,” Thomas said. “When we got into the game I came into the huddle and said, ‘Think of it just like practice, if they call something just move onto the next play.’”

Sophomore guard L.J. Rose sparked the Cougars game-winning run. He contributes a near triple-double with seven points, seven rebounds and 10 assists and committed only one turnover.

UH has won their second straight game for the first time since Jan. 4. Dickey plans on getting his team to the .500 mark in conference play.

“Mentality was the difference between tonight and the game at Memphis. The guys know that we have been inconsistent, and they know what we have been harping on,” Dickey said.

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