No. 1 Houston Cougars basketball showed its composure, stellar ball movement in Tulane win

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Gerald Herbert/AP/Shutterstock (13722007ai) Houston guard Marcus Sasser (0) moves the ball down court during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Tulane in New Orleans, . Houston won 80-60 Houston Tulane Basketball, New Orleans, United States – 17 Jan 2023

No. 1 Houston Cougars basketball showed its composure, stellar ball movement in Tulane win

NEW ORLEANS — The Houston Cougars basketball team flexed its muscles against Tulane on Tuesday evening during its 80-60 victory inside the Devlin Fieldhouse.

Toward the middle of the second half, Tulane had managed to cut the lead of first-ranked Houston to just five points after a 3-point basket from junior guard Jaylen Forbes.

The Green Wave crowd was rocking at the media timeout with 11:11 left in the second half. Tulane was blazing with an 11-1 run that had just made the score 54-49 minutes after the Cougars led 53-38. What followed was an emphatic response from Houston that showed why it currently stands as the top team in the nation.

“We just tried to stay composed and keep doing what we’ve been doing all year,” Houston Cougars junior guard Jamal Shead said. “Just trying to come in, stay ourselves, stay composed. They had a really good crowd. It was pretty loud in there.”

During the timeout, Sampson’s message to the Cougars was to get back to what they had been doing when they built the lead, redshirt sophomore guard Tramon Mark said. During the Green Wave run, UH had stopped guarding as effectively and had a couple of bad possessions on offense, Mark added.

Mark was the one that ended Tulane’s run with a pull-up jumper after the timeout. The shot turned out to be the start of a 7-0 response that was followed up by a jumper from freshman forward Jarace Walker and a 3-point basket from senior guard Marcus Sasser.

In the middle of Houston’s counter run, the Cougars managed to force the Green Wave to turn the ball over twice and miss their shot on the one possession they did not give away the ball. The Cougars’ 7-0 run eventually became a 12-3 run, which then became a 26-11 run to end the game.

“We just got back to what we were doing and it handled itself,” Mark said.

Houston hit plenty of big shots in the second half, and a good portion of them came from Sasser, who caught fire in the closing period. Sasser’s mind was on attacking the Green Wave defense a lot more coming out of halftime; he said postgame. It paid off.

The Dallas native hit his first four baskets to start the second half, including three shots from 3-point range. While Sasser’s hot shooting simmered down a bit in the midst of Tulane’s final 11-1 run, he hit a 3-point dagger with the clock winding down under the four-minute mark that extended Houston’s lead to 19 and sent plenty of Tulane’s faithful toward the exits. He ended the night with 23 points.

“Just coming out being aggressive [was the key],” Sasser said. “ I feel like the first half, I was being passive, you know, not trying to be as aggressive.”

One of Houston’s other strengths on Tuesday night was its ability to create shots. UH had assists on 20 of its 31 made baskets against Tulane. For Houston head coach Kelvin Sampson, the ball movement was key in responding to the Green Wave’s 11-1 run.

“This is a really good passing team,” Sampson said. “[Jarace] Walker is a really good passer. Roberts is a really good passer. Obviously, Shead and Tramon, Tramon is a good playmaker.”

One of the areas that make the Houston Cougars basketball team difficult to guard is how deep the roster is, Tulane head coach Ron Hunter alluded to in his postgame availability.

With examples in the past of freshman guard Terrance Arceneaux stepping up against Oregon, Walker and Mark against Virginia, and Sasser against South Florida, to list a few, Houston’s opponents can never be sure who could have the hot hand in a given game.

“We all like to see each other eat, and you never know whose night it is,” Shead said. “[Sasser] can get it going. T-Mark can get it going. Jarace can get it going. You’ve seen that [Emanuel Sharp] can get it going, and you’ve also seen that J’Wan [Roberts] can get it going, so you know, we like to be unselfish. We like to play together because you never know whose night it is.”

Related Posts:

1 Comment

  • Thank you Andy for the awesome coverage. You never fail unlike the Chron.
    Go coogs!!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *