Houston Cougar basketball is known for its physical style. So when opponents see UH next up on the schedule, they know that they are about to step into a brawl. UCF tried to match that Cougar physicality and came ready to mix it up.
That tactic worked well for UCF, as they came out strong and were going toe-to-toe with the Coogs. But as Ja’Vier Francis hit an early jumper, things started to cross the line. Tramon Mark caught an elbow to the throat, then was shoved down. Mark decided he had enough of the shenanigans and took the game over for the rest of the half.
He hit both free throws after the flagrant-one foul, then nailed a 3-pointer and, with Francis’ bucket, made it a seven-point trip down the floor, putting the Coogs up 16-12. Mark didn’t stop there, continuing to pour it on the rest of the half finishing with 17 points. That was the aggressive Mark that UH fans have wanted to see since he returned from last year’s injury.
I suppose my theme for this year is talented players that stop thinking and let it rip. I have talked about it in previous articles – Jarace Walker Levels Up and The Beast Within Ja’Vier Francis – and it holds true for Tramon as well. When you stop thinking and start reacting, great things happen.
Sometimes it is easy to forget that Tramon is still a young player, despite this being his third season in the program. In reality, he’s only made 19 starts in his career, and 15 of those have come this season. Add to that, he’s working his way back from injury, and it takes time to get back into the high-level mindset to succeed at this level. Throw in a bunch of new faces, getting used to playing together, and it takes time for guys to gel.
Thankfully UCF lit his fuse, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Tramon has a ton of talent and is the perfect option for this UH team. He can create his own shot and is a threat from anywhere. He has also shown the ability to rise to the occasion and hit big shots and make big plays when UH needs it the most.
Mark is shooting 57.7% in the last 10 seconds of a shot clock, by far the best shooter on the team. He’s also shooting 56.2% on threes late in the shot clock (9/16), making him an absolute threat that must be guarded until the possession changes. As opponents start to step up on him, that will open up lanes for other players.
Here, the ball is well defended, even after it gets to Mark, but he manages to create his own shot and hits it with six seconds on the shot clock.
Houston Basketball fans are treated to the constant development of players, seeing them improve throughout the season. You know the team is figuring it out in real-time and coming together to be better than reasonable expectations would allow. Tramon is a big piece to this season-long puzzle and with him playing as he did against UCF, this team has no limits.