Fred Faour: These are the Cougars we know – the run always comes – and they are on to the Sweet 16

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Rogelio V Solis/AP/Shutterstock (13832148c) Houston guard Tramon Mark (12) readies to pass in the second half of the first round of a college basketball game against Northern Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament in Birmingham, Ala., . Houston won 63-52 NCAA Houston Men’s Basketball, Birmingham, United States – 16 Mar 2023

Fred Faour: These are the Cougars we know – the run always comes – and they are on to the Sweet 16

The run always comes.

At halftime of UH’s 81-64 win over Auburn, my phone was blowing up with texts.

WTF is happening?

What’s wrong with the Coogs?

Is this how it ends?

The Cougars were down 10 to a pesky Auburn team that scored 41 points in the first half against UH’s vaunted defense.

My response to the multiple texts I got?

The run always comes.

The Cougars came out in the second half, turned up the screws on defense, made the plays they needed, and won the game, reaching the Sweet 16 for the fourth time in the Kelvin Sampson era. They went on a huge run, outscoring Auburn 50-23 in the second half. Sampson made brilliant adjustments, as he always does. And that set it up.

One thing you can count on with the Cougars – they always make a run.

They were up against it, essentially in a road game against Auburn. Once again, they could not get a call. The refs made sure their best three players were in foul trouble. But with Marcus Sasser and Jamal Shead on the bench with four fouls, Tramon Mark took over in the second half and scored 26 points for the game. Auburn was trying, but it did not matter. Because the run always comes.

Will they Cougars need to play better moving forward? Of course. It’s a long run to the Final Four. But on Saturday? They once again did what they needed to do. They played great defense in the second half. They turned it up. Mark took over the game. Sampson made adjustments.

And the run came. Because The run always comes. That is what these Cougars do. They have done it all year. And when they needed it most, they came up with a huge one. And it always starts with defense. After allowing those 41 points in the first half? The Cougars held Auburn to 23 in the second half. And that was the game. And the run.

And the Cougars are on to the next round.

Because once again, the run always comes.

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