Men's Basketball Sports

Cougars open season with exhibition win


Sophomore guard Rob Gray, Jr. led Houston with 15 points in his first game as a Cougar. | Justin Tijerina/The Cougar

The men’s basketball team rolled past Montana Tech with a 95-65 win in their exhibition matchup inside Hofheinz Pavilion Friday night.

Senior forward Devonta Pollard and sophomore Rob Gray, Jr. both posted 15 points to lead the Cougars, while junior guard Damyean Dotson grabbed 15 rebounds and had five assists in his debut as a Cougar.

“I wasn’t really thinking, I was just playing how I know I can play,” Dotson said. “A couple shots weren’t falling, so I was just trying to get my teammates involved and just play hard and go to the offensive glass like coach always tells us, and to rebound and just be a leader on the court.”

Although the team started off slow, and even trailed the Orediggers at the start of the first quarter, the Cougars were able to build a lead after going on a 15-6 run with 4:12 remaining in the first and maintained a double-digit lead throughout the remainder of the game.

Head coach Kelvin Sampson said he saw a lot of good things, but also some bad things in the team’s debut.

“It’s kind of what you expect after practicing 25 days without playing in a game,” Sampson said. “I think we’re going to be a good team. We’ve got a good team in that locker room. We just have to figure out who it is.”

Shooting 50 percent from the free-throw line in the first, the Cougars stepped it up to 87.5 percent in the second, and while connecting 50 percent of their shots from the field in the second half, while Montana Tech were limited to 35.5 percent shooting overall.

True freshman point guard Galen Robinson Jr. added 12 points and tied Dotson with five assists, and junior forward Xavier Dupree had five blocks in his debut.

Sampson said he still has yet to decide on a starting lineup.

Gray tallied 15 points on 6 for 16 shooting, 11 of the 15 scored in the second half, with six rebounds and two assists.

“I felt like I wasn’t nervous at all,” Gray said. “(I) maybe should’ve approached a little bit slower or got so many shots up so early in the game, but I wasn’t nervous at all, just some shots didn’t fall that usually do.”

The Cougars open the regular season against Prairie View at 7 p.m. Wednesday inside Hofheinz Pavilion.

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