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Friday, September 24, 2021

Men's Basketball

UH guard Tramon Mark’s ‘miracle shot’ caps off March Madness preview


UH men's basketball guard Tramon Mark releases a shot from near half-court as time expires against Memphis. After Mark's shot went in, all of his teammates erupted with excitement as they swarmed the freshman guard on the opposite end of the court. | Andy Yanez/The Cougar

UH men’s basketball guard Tramon Mark releases a shot from near half-court as time expires against Memphis. After Mark’s shot went in, all of his teammates erupted with excitement as they swarmed the freshman guard on the opposite end of the court. | Andy Yanez/The Cougar

The moment the ball left the hands of Houston freshman guard Tramon Mark, senior forward Justin Gorham knew the game was decided.

“It was so low, that when I saw it, (I knew) it was going to go off the backboard and go in. That’s when I called game,” Gorham told reporters after the game. “(It is) a memory I will never forget.”

As soon as the buzzer sounded, and the ball, in fact, bounced off the glass and went straight through the net, chaos ensued. 

“It was a miracle shot,” said Memphis sophomore guard Lester Quinones, who defended Mark on the final play.

Once the game was over, junior guard Quentin Grimes dashed from near the wing of the 3-point-line towards Mark, in a time that would even make NFL scouts turn their heads. The rest of the UH men’s basketball team ran towards Mark as well. At least most of them. Gorham rushed towards the locker room tunnel after the make.

“I was just so excited,” Gorham said.

Once he turned around and realized his entire team was on the opposite side around Mark, he rushed towards them as well and jumped on top of the pile.

“It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Gorham said. “I didn’t know what to do. I just saw the ball go through the net and just ran.”

As for the Dickinson product, he was just as pumped to have been able to send out this year’s round of seniors in style.

“I did it for y’all. I did it for y’all,” Mark told the seniors on the team after he made his shot, DeJon Jarreau said. 

As is tradition on the last home game of the season, the Cougars were honoring their senior class ‒ Jarreau, Gorham, and center Brison Gresham.

“To do that on senior day for those guys just make it even better,” Mark tweeted out after the game. 

Gearing up for more madness

Sunday’s game marked the first, of what ninth-ranked UH hopes are multiple games in March and even into April.

While not every contest will end with a half-court buzzer-beater, everyone from the UH coaching staff to the players knows that many of those tournament games will be down-to-the-wire nail-biters as well.

“It’s March,” Jarreau said. “Big plays are always going to come in March. Crazy plays.”

Regardless of what the outcome was, the Cougars were given a strong conference and NCAA Tournament preview in the Tigers, who had hit a clutch 3-pointer of their own just a possession prior to Mark’s shot to tie the game.

“They’re not an easy team to play against,” UH head coach Kelvin Sampson said. “I enjoy playing against really good teams like that … Memphis makes you better.”

The Cougars (21-3, 14-3 American Athletic Conference) ended the regular season on a four-game winning streak, and while they could not win their third straight AAC championship due to Wichita State finishing with a higher winning percentage, Sampson’s team has its sights set for much bigger aspirations. 

“It’s not about getting to the tournament anymore,” Gorham said. “Three years ago they set the standard and got to the tournament. Getting to the tournament isn’t a goal anymore. When we say things, at the end of a huddle, we’ll say national championship.”

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