Men’s basketball opens regular season with blowout win
Senior forward Devonta Pollard and junior guard Ronnie Johnson shined as the Houston men’s basketball came out with a 110-69 win in its season-opener versus Prairie View A&M University Wednesday night.
“We wore them down,” head coach Kelvin Sampson said. “We’ve said all along that the strength of our team is going to be our depth, and you understand why watching our team tonight. We don’t have just one guy we depend on. The way this team is built, we can play different combinations. We can be big. We can be small. We can be fast.”
The Cougars shot 57.6 percent from the field, scoring the first nine points of the game, while the Panthers remained scoreless until 16:37 in the first. The Cougars never trailed throughout the game.
In addition to their field goal percentage, the Cougars shot 56.3 percent from three and 96.2 percent from the free-throw line. They also forced 19 turnovers.
Johnson was one of the seven players who saw their first action as Cougars. He scored 17 points, grabbed six rebounds and six assists in his debut.
“I felt kind of comfortable,” Johnson said. “I was just taking what the defense gave me. I just tried to make the right choice whether that was taking the shot or swinging it out to our shooters.”
Sophomore guard Rob Gray Jr. added 12 points off the bench, with two rebounds and two assists.
Player of the game: Pollard was near a double-double, scoring 25 points and grabbing nine rebounds in the win.
He also logged two assists, one block and three steals and was perfect from the free-throw line, draining his 11 attempts.
“It felt great to win,” Pollard said. “This year I’m just trying to go out and play with a lot of emotions. I want to lose myself on one end, like my coach has been preaching from day one. Everything else will just take care of itself.”
The Cougars continue their home play as they take on Florida A&M University Saturday at 7 p.m. inside Hofheinz Pavilion.