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Monday, January 30, 2023

Men's Basketball

Despite the metrics, UH not satisfied with recent defensive play


Statistically, UH is among the top team's in the country in almost every major defensive category. | Anh Le/The Cougar

Statistically, UH is among the top team’s in the country in almost every major defensive category. | Anh Le/The Cougar

No. 1 in scoring defense, allowing just 53.4 points per game. Holding opponents to just 34.2 percent shooting from the field, the second-best in the country. Blocking a nation-leading 18.5 percent of its opponents’ shots.  No. 2 in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency

Most teams would run through a wall to have these defensive metrics attached to their name, but not Houston.

“We’ve got to get back to playing defense,” said UH point guard Jamal Shead. “We’re usually holding teams to under 50 points per game. We’ve got to get back to that.”

Coming off a game where UH held Temple to only five field goals in the second half, including none over the final 7 minutes, 18 seconds of regulation, the Cougars still weren’t satisfied with their performance defensively. 

Why?

Because UH allowed Temple too many good looks. Even though the Owls missed the shots, the sheer number of open looks they got didn’t sit right with the Cougars.

“They had too many easy shots,” Shead said. “They could have scored a lot more if they would have just made some open shots.”

Shead, who after a recent practice said his effort must improve defensively, takes it upon himself to set the tone on defense, something he believes he’s failed to do over UH’s recent stretch of games.

“It really starts with me,” Shead said.

Redshirt junior forward J’Wan Roberts believes the lack of effort defensively has been a teamwide issue, saying the Cougars have not been playing with the type of energy and enthusiasm they typically do over their recent stretch of games.

“It’s the urge of (wanting) to,” Roberts said. “Going into the game focusing on your assignment, not letting this person get a certain amount of 3s, not letting this person go to the free throw line, that’s a want thing.”

While all the metrics point to UH being one of college basketball’s top defensive teams, Roberts and the rest of the team believe that they have just scratched the surface of the level of defense they are capable of playing.

“We have another level to us, guaranteed,” Roberts said.

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