Today would have been Guy V. Lewis’ 98th birthday. The father of Cougar basketball, college basketball on national television, playing in domed stadiums, and Phi Slama Jama passed away in 2015. But that doesn’t mean we stop celebrating his accomplishments.
Today, we look back at the 3 UH wins that happened on his birthday:
1967: Final Four-Bound After Win Over SMU
On his 45th birthday, Guy V Lewis led the Cougars past SWC champs SMU, 83-75, to reach UH’s first-ever Final Four.
Houston had four players in double figures led by Elvin Hayes, who had 31 points and 11 boards. Don Chaney finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds, and 9 assists – just one short of a triple-double. Melvin Bell (11 points, 8 rebounds), and Leary Lentz (8 points, 10 boards) were also major contributors.
SMU had rallied to tie the game at 71 with four minutes left, causing Guy V. to use a timeout. But the Ponies could not overcome UH’s size advantage nor their zone defense. After the break, the Cougars outscored SMU 12-4 to win the Midwest Region and advance to Louisville for the Final Four.
1982: Beat #5 Mizzou In The Sweet 16
After beating #10 Tulsa to advance to the Sweet 16, Guy V. celebrated his 60th birthday in style with a 79-78 win over #5 Mizzou at the Checkerdome in Saint Louis. It was basically a home game for the Tigers but that did not matter on this day.
Every Cougar that attempted a shot scored at least 10 points as Lynden Rose led the way (16 points). Michael Young (15 points), Clyde Drexler (14), and Akeem (13) each contributed to the win. The Cougars advanced to the Midwest Regional Final (Elite 8) to face Boston College with the winner heading to the Final Four.
1983: Cougars Beat Maryland In Ugly Game
After a first-round bye, UH met Maryland in the Summit for the right to advance to the Sweet 16. On his 61st birthday, Coach Lewis had to endure the slowdown, ball-holding offense of Terps coach Lefty Driesell. At one point in the second half, Maryland held the ball for 3 minutes, 36 seconds without attempting a shot (they made 94 passes in that time).
While the ACC had a 30-second shot clock and the SWC had a 45-second shot clock, the NCAA Tournament had yet to approve one. That allowed the Terps to slow down the running style of Phi Slama Jama. UH made only one dunk in the game – Clyde Drexler slammed it home with a second left to play.
It was the 23rd-straight win for the top-ranked Coogs and came in the tournament in front of 15,000 UH fans.
“It wasn’t very pretty, I guess,” Guy V. said after the game. “I imagine other teams will do it to us in the tournament. I certainly don’t blame them and I don’t blame us for enjoying a 10-point victory.”
Michael Young led the Coogs with 16 and Akeem had 12. Clyde Drexler had 11 points and 8 rebounds in his last game in Houston as a Cougar.
Happy 98th birthday, Coach.