The Cougars held off a pretty good SMU team on Wednesday night, 71-62, to get another conference win. Fabian White, Jr. starred for UH – the junior finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds. It was his second double-double of the season.
The Cougars led the game for almost 35 minutes but could never really push the lead past 10 points. UH did lead by 12 in the first half but it was just for one possession.
Sampson tinkered with the starting lineup – White, Harris, Sasser, Jarreau, and Hinton got the nod – in an effort to reward the best players from practice this week. Sampson told the media after the game that everything he does is focused on the long-term.
“Our goal here on day one was to build a great program, not to have a great team,” Kelvin Sampson said after the game. “A great program has great sustainability.”
Former head coach Tom Penders @TomPenders is in attendance tonight. He took the Coogs to the Dance 10 years ago this season.
— GoCoogs.com (@gocoogs1) January 16, 2020
After not hitting a shot against Tulsa, White stepped up in a big way. He was 6/12 from the floor and 5/5 at the line. His 6 offensive boards tie his best game since January 2018.
Other Coogs stepped up as well: Caleb Mills scored 15 and Nate Hinton added 14 and 9 rebounds. Dejon Jarreau had one of his best starts of the season – he went for 9 points and 8 rebounds (highest rebound total of the year). In addition, Marcus Sasser hit two big three-pointers for the Cougars.
Houston is currently tied atop the AAC standings at 3-1 but with the biggest test of the season coming Saturday: at Wichita State. The Shockers lost their second game of the year Wednesday night at Temple. Prior to that, WSU was in the top 10 of the NCAA NET.
Following the SMU win, UH is 13-4 on the season and jumped 6 spots to #43 in the NET.
Below is our photo gallery from the game. Click a photo and you can scroll through each of them in the lightbox. All images © Mario Puente 2020.