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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Men's Basketball

For UH, keeping star guard Kendric Davis under control is key vs. SMU


UH guard Marcus Sasser (0) defends SMU guard Kendric Davis inside of Fertitta Center on Jan. 15, 2020. | Lino Sandil/The Cougar

UH guard Marcus Sasser (0) defends SMU guard Kendric Davis (3) inside of Fertitta Center on Jan. 15, 2020. | Lino Sandil/The Cougar

The Houston men’s basketball team will be in Dallas on Sunday evening to take on SMU as the Cougars finish up a stretch of three straight conference road games. 

No. 5 UH (7-1, 2-1 American Athletic Conference) is coming off its first loss of the season on Tuesday when Tulsa guard Brandon Rachal knocked down two free throws with only 0.1 seconds left on the clock, which erased a go-ahead jumper by sophomore guard Caleb Mills that had put the Cougars in front by one.

UH will have gotten five days in between games when it gets on the court on Sunday, which is the longest break the Cougars have had since returning from the 15-day layoff due to COVID-19 issues within the program.

The Cougars played four games in a stretch of nine days and have had minimal practice time, which Sampson said has taken a toll on the team.

Sunday’s matchup against a red-hot Mustangs’ team will be another tough challenge for the Cougars. 

SMU’s offensive prowess

The Mustangs (6-0, 2-0 AAC) enter their contest with the Cougars on top of the conference. They are coming off a 79-71 win over Temple on Wednesday. SMU beat East Carolina in its other win against an AAC opponent.

SMU has the No. 1 scoring offense in the American, averaging 84.2 points per game. It is also first in the conference in field goal percentage and 3-point percentage.

“They are the best offensive team in this league because they have the best point guard in this league,” said Sampson on Thursday.

The UH head coach’s praise was for junior guard Kendric Davis, who is leading SMU with 19.2 points, 7.2 assists and 1.8 steals per game.

“Everything starts with him,” Sampson said. “He is outstanding.”

Outside of Davis, the Mustangs have four other players that average double-digit points per game.

Other players to watch will be senior forward Ethan Chargois, who is averaging 11.5 points a contest and also leads SMU with 7.7 rebounds a game, and junior forward Feron Hunt, who is putting up 12 points and 7.5 rebounds per contest.

“(SMU) is great in transition,” Sampson said. “Really fast, athletic, and there is a reason they’re undefeated. I think they’re a really good team.”

A season ago

The Cougars and Mustangs split their meetings in 2019-20 as both teams won their home games.

In UH’s 71-62 win at Fertitta Center, Davis finished with 19 points on 8-14 shooting from the field. 

In the second game in Dallas, SMU won 73-72 in overtime. The Mustangs were lead by Tyson Jolly, who finished with 20 points. The Cougars were led by Marcus Sasser, who had 26 points and made five 3-pointers.

The game will tipoff at 6 p.m. and be on ESPN2 and can be heard on KPRC 950 AM or the TuneIn app.

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