Men's Basketball Sports

Grimes, late rally lift Cougars past crosstown rival Owls

Sophomore guard Quentin Grimes' 21 second-half points sparked Houston's late-game rally that led the Cougars to a 97-89 victory over the cross-town rival Owls. | Ahmed Gul/The Cougar

Sophomore guard Quentin Grimes’ 21 second-half points sparked Houston’s late-game rally that led the Cougars to a 97-89 victory over the crosstown rival Owls. | Ahmed Gul/The Cougar

Houston bounced back from their first loss of the season with a 97-89 come-from-behind win against Rice behind sophomore guard Quentin Grimes 21 second-half points.

The stands at the Tudor Fieldhouse were flooded with red as Houston traveled to Rice for their first away game of the season, but the contest began with an avalanche of offense from the Owls that left the Cougars playing catch-up ball for much of the night.

The first half began with an 8-0 onslaught from Rice. 

Houston’s offense appeared to be stuck in the mud to begin the game. The Cougars did not score their first field goal of the game until the 15:34 mark off of a layup from junior forward Fabian White Jr.

“A lot of the stuff that went on the court tonight would have never gone on last year with Galen (Robinson) and Corey (Davis Jr.),” head coach Kelvin Sampson said after the game. “You can see our inexperience.”

For Rice, they were led by senior forward Robert Martin, who scored 13 points in the first half, and was responsible for sparking a 13-0 run from the Owls, which gave them a 15-point lead toward the middle of the first half.

During the run, Martin scored 12 of those 13 points for Rice, nine of which came off 3-point baskets.

The Cougars responded to the Owls run by closing the half on a 13-5 streak of their own.

The second half saw Houston complete its rally early when UH took their first lead of the game off of a tough layup from Grimes.

The Cougars were unable to create any separation from the Owls, and both teams began exchanging leads back and forth shortly afterwards.

“We switched our defense. We got out of the man-to-man,” Sampson said. “I’m sure their second team guards them better than we did in practice every day. That thing was getting ready to get ugly, the way we were guarding them.”

Each time the Cougars would make a basket to retake the lead, the Owls would dribble to the other end and bury a shot to keep the game tied.

Rice began to pull away toward the end of the half; they made five 3-point bombs in the span of five minutes, which helped the Owls build as much as a nine-point lead in the second half.

“We kind of had some mishaps in the first half, but like coach said, once we got into the second half,” Grimes said, “we went into that 3-2 and their offense got a little bit stagnant with the ball movement and they took some bad shots, and we got the rebounds and played Cougar basketball.”

Much like its BYU game, Houston made the comeback late in the game. Only this time, it resulted in a victory.

Many of Grimes’ second-half points came in crucial situations, like three 3-pointers he made during Houston’s 21-1 run that ultimately clinched the game for them.

One of his 3-balls cut the Owls’ lead to one, another gave the Cougars a four-point lead and the third capped off the scoring run and a nine-point lead for Houston, its largest of the night.

The Cougars shot 10 of 17 as a team from the 3-point line, and they out-rebounded the Owls 47-34.

“To win tonight, no matter how we won it,” Sampson said, “it was good for our young guys’ psyche.” 

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