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Monday, May 17, 2021

Men's Basketball

Cougars learned from loss to Bearcats, went all-in on rebounding

Junior forward Fabian White Jr. finished Wednesday's game against USF with 10 points, one block and two steals. | Kathryn Lenihan/The Cougar

Junior forward Fabian White Jr. finished Wednesday’s game against USF with 10 points, one block and two steals. | Kathryn Lenihan/The Cougar

The Cougars overcame a struggling offensive performance on Wednesday night to defeat the South Florida Bulls for their 20th win of the season, and some of the players credited the growing pains from the loss to Cincinnati for the resilience and execution in the win.

“Cincinnati did the same (thing) that USF did,” freshman guard Marcus Sasser said. “They went on a late run in the second half, and I think this time, we just did a better job figuring out a way to win, through adversity, and I think we are getting better every day.”

In Wednesday’s contest, Houston held an 11-point lead toward the latter end of the second half, but South Florida rallied to cut the deficit to two.

Despite struggling with fouls all game long and shooting only 43.1 percent from the field, the Cougars pulled out the win.

Since losing the heartbreaking game to the Bearcats, the team has prioritized their second-half performances, which was the case against South Florida.

“We focused more on the second half,” sophomore forward Cedrick Alley Jr. said. “We tried not to make as many turnovers but we still had 15, which hurt us a little bit but we found a way to keep going.”

Against the Bulls, the Cougars were able to rely on their rebounding identity, which the team has completely embraced.

“Offensive rebounding came in big time,” Alley Jr. said. “We had 17 second-chance points, so that’s what really helped us keep the lead.”

For the Cougars, crashing the boards on offense provides extra opportunities to get more shots up, but they also give the team a mental advantage.

“Offensive rebounds usually get the other team down because they’ve already played 20-30 seconds of defense and now they have to play a whole 20 again, which is why they are so important,” junior forward Fabian White Jr. said.

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