Thanks, Ernie, for writing my lede!
“So, uhh, that was Houston in the second half…Houston survives against Auburn…more than survives, they came back and then ran Auburn out of the gym.”
– TBS studio host Ernie Johnson
My instant analysis is that this Houston Cougar win will be remembered for years—an instant classic in modern terms.
It was a work of art. Well, two works of art, really. A three-year-old using a sharpie on your living room wall in the first half, followed by the strong contrasts of Tramon Manet in the second. Édouard Manet bridged the gap between realism and impressionism, while Tramon Mark bridged the gap between Birmingham and Kansas City.
Art criticism from GoCoogs.com. Beat that, Joseph Duarte!
Houston overcame a 10-point halftime deficit and ran away with their second-round game over Auburn, 81-64. Auburn went on a 17-4 run to end the first half, feeling confident that they’d broken hobbled Houston. But the Cougars came out possessed and smothered War Eagle in the second half despite 26 Auburn free-throw attempts.
Aside: The Tigers shot 36 free throws, the most attempts against UH in over four years.
Another aside: the previous high this season in FT attempts was Alabama at 32. Hmm…
But the clank clank clank sound that could be heard all the way to Montgomery was the building of the Tiger Brick Factory. Auburn missed 31 shots in the second half between field goals and free throws.
They made only four baskets after the break, two in the last 3:21 after UH had opened up a 13-point lead. How ridiculous did the game get? Houston blocked eight Auburn shots in the second half before they made their third shot.
And then there was Tramon, the Dickinson man that stepped up repeatedly, playing the best second half of his life for all the world to see. Earlier this week, I wrote he was “the little-noticed threat in the starting lineup” and “does not do anything significant, and then you look up, and he’s at 10 and 5.”
On Saturday, you better damn well believe he was noticed: 26 points and nine rebounds. Twenty of those points were in the second half.
Marcus Sasser was not himself, and while Jamal Shead bulldogged his way through 34 minutes, what the Cougars needed was someone to take over. J’Wan and Jarace did it defensively, but Mark was there when they needed an offensive spark.
After checking back in with under 11 minutes to play, Mark hit four-straight jumpers and made eight-straight free throws, turning a three-point deficit into a 13-point lead. T-March, as he’s known by his teammates, has a knack for March, and his special spot in Cougar lore was solidified.