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Friday, September 24, 2021

Men's Basketball

UH-Memphis rundown: Cougars seek to end regular season with a win


Houston men's basketball guard Quentin Grimes attacks USF guard Justin Brown on Feb. 28 at Fertitta Center. UH will host Memphis this Sunday. | Andy Yanez/The Cougar

Houston men’s basketball guard Quentin Grimes attacks USF guard Justin Brown on Feb. 28 at Fertitta Center. UH will host Memphis this Sunday. | Andy Yanez/The Cougar

The Houston men’s basketball team has reached the final game of the regular season when it hosts Memphis on Sunday morning inside of the Fertitta Center.

The ninth-ranked Cougars (20-3, 13-3 American Athletic Conference) enter the game on a three-game winning streak, all of which have come by 24 or more points.

In their last contest, the UH men’s basketball team defeated South Florida 98-52. The Cougars were led by junior guard Quentin Grimes, who scored 22 points, and senior guard DeJon Jarreau, who finished with 16 points, eight rebounds and six assists.

The winner of Sunday’s game will secure the No. 2 seed in the AAC Tournament.

A look at the Tigers

Memphis (15-6, 11-3 AAC) is also coming off a big win against USF this past Tuesday. In the 21-point victory, the Tigers were led by sophomore guard Boogie Ellis, who finished with 18 points and four rebounds.

For the season, sophomore guard Landers Nolley II leads the team in scoring with 13.1 points per game. Freshman center Moussa Cisse leads the team with seven rebounds and almost two blocks per contest.

One thing that UH head coach Kelvin Sampson emphasized during his morning Zoom meeting with reporters on Friday is that the Tigers are a phenomenal team on the defensive end.

“They are the best defensive team that we have prepared for because they create more problems for you than other teams,” Sampson said. “They just don’t let you run your offense. Spacing, ball movement, cutting, extra pass, composure: they play unlike anybody else. But they’re really, really good at it.”

The Tigers do a good job of mixing different defenses including full-court pressure, Sampson added.

Memphis is 15th in the country in scoring defense, holding its opponents to only 62.1 points per game. UH is No. 2, holding opposing teams to only 57.3 points per contest. The Tigers are 10th in the nation in steals per matchup.

Another player that Sampson highlighted was junior forward DeAndre Williams.

“Since they’ve had him, I’ve seen their team evolve,” Sampson said. 

Scheduling grudges

During a pregame radio show, Memphis head coach Penny Hardaway was critical of the AAC for not rescheduling the game that was set to take place at the FedExForum.

 “Houston cried enough to get our home game,” Hardaway said.

The game between UH and Memphis was moved to Fertitta Center because COVID-19 related issues within the Tigers program forced the postponement of the Feb. 14 game that was going to be in Houston.

According to a UH spokesperson, the AAC’s athletic directors agreed that, when possible, the next game will default to the home site of the team that did not have the COVID-related issues that led to the previously postponed game.

On Friday, Sampson said he thought Wichita State, who finished the season with the AAC regular season championship after beating USF on Saturday, and Memphis should have played each other because the Shockers had played the fewest conference games. 

He added if anyone should have been forced to reschedule its game against the Tigers, it should have been WSU. 

“Nobody is trying to duck a game,” Sampson said.

Where to watch

Sunday’s game between UH and Memphis will tipoff at 11 a.m. and air on CBS and will also be on KPRC 950 AM radio.

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