For No. 8 Houston, it’s not about other teams, it is about getting better
No. 8 Houston left little room for doubt when it took on Temple on Saturday morning.
The Cougars scored first, a hook shot by senior forward Brison Gresham in the first 11 seconds of the game, and never looked back.
UH quickly expanded that lead to seven before the first media timeout, and by the next pause in the action, the team led by double-digits.
“Credit to coach and credit to us for going hard in practice every day,” UH senior guard DeJon Jarreau told reporters on Zoom after the game. “I feel like we’ve done a good job of carrying that into the game and sticking to our principles.”
By halftime, UH (13-1, 8-1 American Athletic Conference) led by 15 points and were shooting 54.5 percent on 3-pointers. Sophomore guard Marcus Sasser once again was leading the way, shooting a perfect three-of-three from behind the arc, and tallying up 11 points in total at the break.
Once the second half started, the Cougars maintained their control of the contest. Senior forward Justin Gorham got into double figures in two categories with 14 points and 10 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season.
Both Sasser and junior guard Quentin Grimes finished the game with 15 points each, which led UH in scoring.
With the win, the Cougars increased their winning streak to six and have won the past four contests by double-digit margins.
While the team appears to be hitting on all cylinders at the moment, they are still looking to refine their skills.
“Our guys are improving in so many different areas,” UH head coach Kelvin Sampson said.
“Now for us, it’s just to stay with it. It is kind of insulting when someone says ‘well you guys don’t want to overlook somebody.’ I’ve never overlooked a team in 32 years and I am not about to start now. It’s not about the other teams sometimes. It is about us getting better,” Sampson added.
Sampson added after the game there were enough things he saw from their matchup with Temple to put on film and have his team focus on.
The Cougars are not scheduled to play again until Thursday when they’re supposed to travel to New Orleans to battle Tulane.
Prior to Saturday’s contest, Sampson said he was working on scheduling with another team, which he did not name.
The other AAC team wanted their game with the Cougars to either be moved up by a day or two or get pushed back, so they could fit another game into their own schedule, Sampson said.
“I don’t mind doing it as long as it doesn’t put us in a tough spot,” he said. “My first responsibility is to look after my program.”
The Cougars are still not certain if the matchup with Tulane, who is dealing with COVID-19 issues, will go on as planned. Sampson said he will likely know more by Monday.
For now, UH will get back to Houston and focus on itself.
When asked to grade the Cougars at this point in the season, Jarreau gave a B-. Both he and the rest of the team see room for growth.
“There is a lot of stuff I feel like we can clean up such as consistently every game, offensive rebounding, taking care of the ball and tightening up our defense,” Jarreau said. “Executing plays, just little stuff like that I feel like we can better at, which will help us improve as a team.”