Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down: Memphis

Marcus Sasser for 3 / Photo by Mario Puente

The dos Coogs go thumbs up, thumbs down while looking at some key plays, moments, and stats from UH’s one-point loss to Memphis on Saturday.

Brad Towns – Thumbs Up:  Nothing.  Absolutely nothing good about that game.  Trying hard doesn’t cut it.

Ryan Monceaux – Thumbs Up: My niece’s first birthday. Beautiful Maci turned one on February 18th and had her first birthday party Saturday afternoon so I enjoyed some time with family instead of watching the game live. Think I lucked out there.

I came home around 4:30 to watch baseball implode then watched the tape of basketball. Ooof.

Towns – Thumbs Down: We were reckless with the ball and turned it over too easily and often. UH lost the turnover battle 14-8 and Memphis recorded 10 steals – the first time an opponent has done that since January 2019.

Monceaux – Thumbs Up: The freshmen. Marcus Sasser made four 3-pointers and had 6 boards (and 3 steals). He also hit some clutch shots in the second half to cut into the Tiger lead. And Caleb Mills was 7/14 from the floor and, while streaky, has evolved into this team’s best shooter.

Towns – Thumbs Down: This game was won by Memphis outscoring UH 30-18 in the paint. 

The Cougars were 2/12 in the paint in the first half – DeJon Jarreau was 0/7 in the paint in the half. That can’t happen.

Monceaux – Thumbs Down: I want to talk about that. UH has done a pretty good job of winning the battle in the paint (won or tied points in the paint 19 of the first 24 games).

But in the last four games, UH is 0-4 in that stat. USF, SMU, Tulsa, and Memphis have outscored the Cougars 112-64 in the paint in the last four games. Brutal. But what’s worse: the 3 teams left on the schedule have outscored UH 88-50 in the paint in the previous meeting this season. It’s time to attack the rim and finish.

Towns – Thumbs Down: Pushing the ball inside is what got them to the free-throw line all day long where they outscored UH 21-9. You do not get to the line shooting jumpers – especially on the road. And as you can see from the shot chart below – the Cougars made 4 shots at the rim all day.

Four out of 14 (28.5%). You cannot shoot less than 30% at the rim and win. UH was 58th in the country at the rim before the Memphis game and now they’ll be in the 90s. That’s how bad that performance inside was.

Monceaux – Thumbs Up: Little different direction – Mills’ shooting streaks. He has had a few sets of three-game stretches where he’s taken over for the Coogs. For example, Caleb shot:

  • 20/40 (50%) in the BYU, Rice, and Oregon games for a total of 50 points.
  • 21/46 (45.7%) vs. UT-Arlington, OkSt, and UTEP for 57 points.
  • 22/46 (47.8%) vs. Temple, Tulsa, and SMU for 60 points.

Seems he’s in the midst of another. In the last two games, Mills is 16/30 (53.3%) vs. Tulsa and Memphis for 48 points. The last two games include his career-high in points and his best two-game stretch in points and FG percentage.

Towns – Thumbs Down:  Our final possession summed up the entire day.  Four guys standing around watching 1 guy with the ball.  There was way too much 1-on-1, NBA-style play today and way too many people standing around watching it.

Monceaux – Thumbs Down: Caleb nearly changed the entire tenor of the game with a steal with 33 seconds left and the game tied. Mills stuck to Boogie Ellis from underneath the basket out to the wing and denied a pass and tipped the ball out to midcourt.

But Ellis and Damion Baugh corraled it for Memphis and then Ellis got it to Precious Achiuwa which led to the offensive foul on Achiuwa blocking foul on Fabian White with 28.6 seconds left. How do a ref that is nine feet away let a player throw a shoulder like that on a shot attempt?

And swallow his whistle on the over the back on the final shot? Or maybe call it a push? But nothing?

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