Houston is finished with the non-conference portion of its schedule, and before Kelvin Sampson’s team begins conference competition, here is a breakdown of the first baker’s dozen games of the campaign.
The 10 wins for the Cougars are third-most in the American as of Tuesday morning, behind only the Shockers’ 11 wins and the Tigers’ 12 wins, who were victorious in their first AAC game against the Green Wave on Monday night.
One of the biggest strengths for Houston has been on the boards as they are tied for seventh in the nation in rebounds per game.
They are third in the nation in offensive rebounds per game, which has been a huge reason behind Houston’s biggest wins thus far, including in the Diamond Head Classic Championship game where the Cougars edged out the No. 21 Huskies 16-9 on the offensive glass.
Sophomore guard Nate Hinton leads the Cougars in rebounds with 9.2 per game and steals with one per game.
Another one of the defensive areas the Cougars excel in is protecting the paint. As a team, Houston is averaging 5.62 blocks a game, which is No. 17 in the nation.
Senior center Chris Harris Jr. leads Houston in blocks with 2.3 a game, Junior center Brison Gresham helped Harris Jr. in the paint as he is averaging 1.3 per game.
On offense, Houston has been streaky at times, especially in their losses. Most notably in the game against Oklahoma State, the Cougars went on a scoring drought that lasted 7:29 of game time, but overall they are shooting 36 percent on 3-pointers and 44.7 percent from the field and averaging 77.2 points a game as a team.
Sophomore guard Quentin Grimes leads the Cougars in scoring with 15.2 points per game.
The 6-foot-5-inch transfer from Kansas broke out of his two-game shooting slump, in which he shot 2/15 for four points combined against UTEP and Oklahoma State, before putting up 18 second-half points against Portland in the quarterfinals of the Diamond Head Classic.
Grimes had 26 in the semifinals of the Diamond Head Classic, and he had 14 in the tournament finals against No. 21 Washington.
The Cougars have also done a good job of limiting their turnovers, averaging only 11.8 per game. In comparison, the rival Tigers are turning the ball over 17.3 times a game.
The Cougars begin conference play at 6 p.m. on Friday against UCF at Fertitta Center.