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Thursday, June 1, 2023

Men's Basketball

Mustang shootout cuts short 5-game win streak

After committing four personal fouls with more than ten minutes remaining, redshirt junior Rob Gray couldn’t contribute as much as he did in the first half. Against UCF on Feb. 1, Gray scored 15 points. | Ajani Stewart/The Cougar

After a shootout in the second half, the Cougars fell to SMU 76-66 last Saturday in Hofheinz Pavilion. The Cougars fell to 18-8 overall and 9-5 in the conference.

The Cougars started out hot against the Mustangs in the first 13 minutes with good offensive possessions and even better defensive stops. Houston went 10-19 from the field and 4-8 from beyond the 3-point arch.

Houston limited SMU to only 4-14 from the field and 0-5 from the 3-point line.

After a brief timeout, the Mustangs galloped back into the game. By halftime, the Cougars led by only four points despite their impressive start.

The first half ended with the Cougars leading 30-26, but the Mustangs had firm control over the momentum.

Redshirt junior guard Rob Gray led UH with nine points and three rebounds. Redshirt senior guard Damyean Dotson followed right behind with eight points and two rebounds of his own.

SMU forward Ben Moore completed the first half with nine points and six rebounds.

The Mustangs came out of the half with a quick start and took an eight point lead.

The Cougars fought to keep the gap from expanding. Damyean Dotson hit numerous big shots to keep the Cougars in the game. In the end, however, it wasn’t enough to bring it back for UH.

“I have to give Houston a ton of credit,” SMU head coach Tim Jankovich said. “They were very sharp, especially on the offensive end. I could see that they had done a great job of dissecting film and taking advantage of things that maybe they hadn’t last time. They jumped out on us.”

Ultimately, SMU won the rebound battle and shot over 50 percent from the free throw line.

Gray led the team with 23 points and six rebounds. Dotson finished the game with 19 points and four rebounds.

SMU’s Moore earned a double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds while forward Semi Ojeleye hit 22 points and nine rebounds.

Houston’s head coach Kelvin Sampson admitted that the lack of depth at the guard position may have been one of the problems for the Cougars.

“A big part of that game is when Rob Gray picked up his fourth foul with 12:40 to go, and obviously he was cooking,” Sampson said. “We don’t have that type of team. They have other weapons. We have Damyean Dotson and Rob Gray. We cannot play without them for an extended stretch.”

Sampson went on to say that while he was not disappointed in his guys’ effort, he was disappointed in their free throw performance.

“We should have made them, Galen Robinson was trying to make them,” Sampson said. “(Sterling) Brown and (Jarrey) Foster (of SMU) went 11-for-11. That is what it sometimes comes to. That is how important it is. In games like this, little things are big things.”

The Cougars stay in town to face off against the UConn Huskies on Wednesday. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. at Hofheinz Pavilion.

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