Quentin Grimes, Fabian White Jr. lead the way in Cougars’ win over Tigers
The Cougars ended the season with a 64-57 win over the Memphis Tigers on Sunday afternoon at Fertitta Center, locking them in as the No. 2 seed in the AAC tournament.
Houston’s two standout players were junior forward Fabian White Jr. and sophomore guard Quentin Grimes, who scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half and helped get the Cougars to the finish line.
“That’s who (Grimes) is,” Memphis head coach Penny Hardaway said. “That’s what he is capable of being on a nightly basis. He’s a talented kid. He’s a McDonald’s All-American that understands the pressure of a game like that.”
As for White, he finished the contest with 18 points and 14 rebounds, which was his third double-double of the season.
The 6-foot-7 forward said his goals were to not lose back-to-back games, and for senior center Chris Harris Jr. to have his final memory playing at home to be a favorable one.
“I was just really playing for my teammates, especially Y.G. (Chris Harris),” White said. “We had to send him off right, and we didn’t want to lose two in a row.”
Grimes, who had 24 points in Houston’s loss to UConn on Thursday evening, made two of the team’s only three 3-pointers on Sunday afternoon and said his teammates allow him to take all the shots he wants without any added pressure because of how they fight for the rebounds.
“My teammates always (are) pushing me to keep shooting,” Grimes said. “We know that if we are shooting it, we got three, four guys crashing the offensive glass going to get the rebound to kick it out and (get a chance) to shoot it again.”
Grimes’ first season for the Cougars has been an eventful one as he has had to battle through injuries and shooting slumps, but through it all, he has also shown pockets of his potential in spots, which have helped Houston pick up much-needed wins throughout the season.
“I love Quentin Grimes,” Sampson said. “I love him because of his journey, because of his perseverance, and the way he can have a game like he had tonight.”
The Woodlands native seems to be peaking at the right time as the Cougars head to Fort Worth for the American Athletic Conference tournament and the NCAA tournament still on the horizon.
“I know how good he is,” Sampson said. “Sometimes they have to get out of their own way. When (Grimes) gets out of his own way and gives himself permission to go be a dominant player he can do it. That’s why his best basketball is so far ahead of him.”