Houston Cougars basketball team’s unselfishness shines in dominating win against Tulsa

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Dave Crenshaw/AP/Shutterstock (13687067f) Houston’s Marcus Sasser drives to the basket against Tulsa’s BB Knight, right, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, in Tulsa, Okla Houston Basketball, Tulsa, United States – 28 Dec 2022

Houston Cougars basketball team’s unselfishness shines in dominating win against Tulsa

TULSA, Okla. — The Houston Cougars basketball team put on a clinic against Tulsa in their American Athletic Conference opener on Wednesday night.

Houston shot a blistering 59% from the field as it assisted on 16 of its 36 made baskets against the Golden Hurricane. While the Cougars defeated Tulsa 89-50, the win on the road at the Reynolds Center also displayed the team’s strong chemistry and generosity both on and off the court.

“Our teams over the years have been so unselfish,” Houston Cougars head coach Kelvin Sampson told reporters postgame. “Multiple guys can make a shot on our team. We talk about this. It doesn’t really matter who scores as long as we score.”

When kids come out of high school and join their respective teams at the college level, there is always an adjustment period because they go from being the go-to guy that takes all the shots, and then all of a sudden; they have to learn how to become a team player, Sampson said.

It’s not always about scoring. A lot of times, players need to find their teammates and make the right basketball play.

Sampson said that Houston’s players went through the same transition when they first joined the Cougars. It is something they have to learn.

“Years after your career is over, nobody remembers how many points you scored, but they do remember how many games your team won,” Sampson stated. “Winning is far more important than scoring, and I think that is part of maturing as a player.”

Houston’s players have embraced winning. It is above all else. There are no individual accolades that can stand in the way. From top to bottom on the roster, there are no egos, senior guard Marcus Sasser said.

“We don’t have one guy on this team that is selfish,” Sasser stated. “It’s just fun playing with these guys.”

Whether it is redshirt sophomore guard Tramon Mark passing the ball to an open redshirt junior J’Wan Roberts in the paint against Tulsa, or Sasser pushing it up in transition and finding freshman forward Jarace Walker for a layup, the Cougars thrive when they see their teammates succeeding, and it showed against the Golden Hurricane.

Houston feeds off it.

“Everybody passes the ball. Everybody shares the ball,” Mark stated. “Everybody gets their touches, so you know, it is definitely fun when you can see everybody shining and eating on one team. It is definitely a good look for the team.”

Another example of the team’s desire to see each other succeed came in the waning moments of the second half against the Golden Hurricane.

With less than seven minutes left in the game, Chaney, a Tulsa, Oklahoma native, found himself scoreless. Then he got a dunk on a second-chance possession extended by Roberts.

With less than two minutes, Chaney found himself with just two points, and again, the Cougars made it a point to get him the ball, Roberts said. They wanted him to score some points in front of the home crowd, Roberts added.

“We are around each other every day,” Mark said. “We see each other every day, so just being there, being out on the court, seeing people shine. We are all brothers, for real. When we shine, everybody supports each other; that is how it is.”

But just what is the key to the unselfishness of the Houston Cougars basketball team? The answer is simple.

“Trust,” Roberts said. “Everybody has trust in everybody. Anybody can have 20 on a given night, but no one goes into a game wanting to get 20 points. It just happens randomly. When one person is hot, just feed him the ball. [And] even when he is hot, he still dishes the ball too.”

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