Yesterday, GoCoogs wrote about the (almost) two-minute sequence that changed the Texas game in Austin. Today, we look at that stretch in more detail and the “why.” The Coogs hit some big-time shots, but if you go deeper, you see why this UH program achieves so much.
the daily #180 | 1/31/2024 | Archives
In this program, the small things matter, and they make the difference between winning and losing. Most are not seen in the box score. Within that 9-0 run, those small things made the difference. Without them, none of the shots are possible. And that’s where Jojo Tugler steps up and becomes a game changer.
Shead drives and dishes to J’Wan Roberts, who has his shot blocked. Shead grabs the rebound and passes for an open three-point attempt by Sharp. The box score and play-by-play recap will tell that Cryer rebounds the miss and hits Shead for three to cut the lead in half.
And all of that is true. But the fun part of that description doesn’t happen without Tugler tipping the ball back to Cryer. Tugler battles for position and has been trained to tip the ball toward the open guy on the perimeter. In their analytics, UH tracks tips and wants to get 30 tips per game. This one was a big one.
UT’s ensuing possession was beautiful…if you’re a Cougar fan. Let’s just admire it in its full glory.
JoJo gets in position and goes straight up for the block. He’s been working on that after practice, and it’s paid off. A month ago, he probably fouled the shooter. Monday night, he blocked it, and the ball went to Emanuel Sharp on the fast break. Another three from Shead and the look on Rodney Terry’s face is priceless:
The third possession in the sequence is more off-the-books work by Tugler. He gets a little greedy, going for the steal, leaving room for Abmas to split the trap with a pass to the roller in the paint. After a fortunate miss on a wide-open 3, Tugler is able to tip it to Sharp to secure the rebound. You know the rest. J’Wan finds Sharp, and he knocks down the third three to turn a six-point deficit into a 3-point lead.
There’s so much happening on the UH side of the box score in this run (3 buckets, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists) but look at the Texas side—a foul, getting a shot blocked, and missing a wide-open shot before calling a timeout.
That’s not winning basketball.
Players going all-out for each other is the “secret” to UH basketball. You hear the phrase “they play hard” used all the time to describe this team and this program. This team doesn’t play pretty basketball, and they aren’t going to dazzle most fans with spectacular plays. But they will make winning plays.
They are going to grind, and they are going to battle, and they are going to do these small things to beat you. They aren’t going to do it every now and then; they will do it every time down the floor.