February 3, 1982: The first day of what would become Phi Slama Jama

It was a win.

Houston had struggled in the SWC in the 1981-82 season. Early wins over Rice and Texas Tech before a blowout loss to #19 Texas and then three-straight losses by a total of five points. They were getting closer. There was a win over Baylor, then another blowout (to A&M), and UH was 3-5 in the league.

But they were close. Guy V. could feel it.

And, of course, he was right. Over the next 26 months, the Houston Cougars would be, perhaps, the best basketball program in the country. It sheepishly began on February 3, 1982, with a three-point win over Texas Tech.

Gerald Myers, the Texas Tech coach, was livid the entire game. Tech had been called for fouls on six-straight UH possessions in the first half, and their hot foul shooting had kept the Coogs in the game. Then, after trailing at the half, UH’s Rob Williams put on a clinic and started scoring from everywhere and UH took a 12-point lead, 69-57. Tech’s Vince Taylor slammed it home on the next play and was fouled, but it was not called. That sent Myers through the roof.

Myers stormed the court, flailing at the refs. He was assessed two technicals and when UH assistant Terry Kirkpatrick came to inquire about the ref’s ruling, Myers started yelling at him. However, UH’s Rob Williams calmly made all four free throws pushing the lead to 73-59.

“I expressed my appreciation to the officials about that call,” Myer said after the game.

The Red Raiders made the score close in the final moments, but UH survived. It was the first game of a ridiculous stretch: the Cougars went 39-1 in the next 40 regular-season Southwest Conference games.

Houston went 76-10 in the next 26 months with more top-20 wins (15) than losses. They’d make three Final Fours, win four Southwest Conference titles, win nine games against top-10 teams, and would take the greatest nickname in college sports history: Phi Slama Jama.

And it all started with Gerald Myers going crazy and getting a double-tech at Hofheinz on February 3, 1982.

Rob Williams driving against Tech – 2/3/1982

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