Men's Basketball

Thomas comes up big on special day

With 2:42 left in the second half, TaShawn Thomas grabbed his fifth rebound, which led to sophomore guard Danuel House’s 3-pointer, putting UH up 68-63 against No. 21 Memphis. At the end of the Cougars’ 77-68 win, Thomas’ rebound made him the seventh player in school history to record at least 800 rebounds and score at least 1300 points — joining elite company like Hakeem Olajuwon, Clyde Drexler and Elvin Hayes.

Thomas finished his record-breaking night shooting 6-7 from the field with 16 points and seven rebounds on his 21st birthday. The game was all business for Thomas.

“I just told myself to just worry about the win, because I knew if I had my goals set on just getting the rebounds, then I would have messed up on some defensive assignments,” Thomas said. “I really didn’t try to think about it that much. I just stuck to defense and followed the game plan.”

Thomas reflected on the accomplishment he had achieved.

“It’s an honor. 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. Plus it’s my birthday, so I can definitely say that it’s one of the best birthdays I’ve ever had.”

Head coach James Dickey said he knows what he is going to get out of Thomas at practices and during games.

“It’s not a secret we’re going to go to him,” Dickey said. “TaShawn does what he always does.”

Thomas leads the Cougars by averaging 15 points, eight rebounds and two blocks, and he has the team back at .500 for the first time since early January.

“We’ve been talking about that since we went on our drought,” Thomas said. “The coaches just said that we’ve got to win out and keep hope alive.”

Thomas didn’t slow down his sophomore year, as his numbers went up to 16.9 points to go with 9.8 rebounds and 1.7 blocks. Thomas earned All Conference USA First Team and Conference USA All-Defensive Team.

Thomas has continued to grow this season and looks to continue to get his teammates involved as the team tries to finish its season on a high note entering the conference tournament.

“We got after it as a family. We got after it as individuals, and we got after it as a team,” said head coach James Dickey. “I was proud of the guys.”

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