Jamal Shead Is The Defensive Matchup Everyone Hates


Texas Southern struggled to shoot the three against Oral Roberts Tuesday night and lost at home by 18. That loss came a day after UH beat ORU by 38 and two days after TSU upset Arizona State in overtime. With tired legs from playing two games in three days, TSU is in for a hellacious challenge tonight against #3 Houston. The Cougars are #1 in the country (again) in FG defense (25.8%).

The guy that sets the table for UH at the point of attack is Jamal Shead, among the elite point-guard defenders in the country. TSU’s PJ Henry (#3) is Jamal’s assignment tonight. Henry was 8/16 (4/7 from 3-pt) for 22 points in the win over Arizona State on Sunday but struggled last night against ORU, going 4/15 with five assists.

Against ORU, Shead said the game plan was to contest three-pointers as much as possible. Shead was matched up against Max Abmas, considered one of the best PGs in the nation. Abmas, the NCAA scoring champion from 2020-21, was a career 43.6% shooter when he walked into Fertitta Center (618/1417).

Shead held him to 1/13 from the floor (1/9 from 3-point range). It was his worst shooting night since he was a freshman almost three years ago.

For the season, Shead has drawn each opponent’s best guard and has held them to a combined 6/28 shooting (21.4%) and 3/19 from three (15.8%).

In the St. Joe’s game, Shead cut off virtually every attempt to drive, and the Hawks went away from him, attempting only two shots vs. Shead in the last 30 minutes of the game. The second bucket, a pull-up jumper in the lane with about 10 minutes left, was a great play that forced Shead into traffic.

Players that Shead guarded were 2/8 shooting, while the Houston senior had three steals and went coast to coast for a bucket after one of them.

After Tuesday’s practice, Shead told me that UH had a stat that since the start of last season, Oral Roberts is 1-9 when they do not get to 80 points (and had lost their last nine). So Shead was determined that they would not get to 80 or anywhere close to it (spoiler: they were 35 points short of it). Now, he will take that same mentality to TSU’s PJ Henry.

“It’s my job to go in and be a tough match-up for (Henry),” Shead said modestly. Earlier in the fall, appearing for HOUNIL.com, Shead and former UH PG Galen Robinson discussed point of attack defense.


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