HOUSTON (CBS-Houston) – The Cougars are looking to get to the .500 mark Wednesday night before their last road game at Rice when they host the 15-13 Tulane Greenwave at Hofheinz Pavilion. Greenwave Head Coach Ed Conroy and team are also 2-9 on the road and 3-11 in C-USA. Hence, this is a much needed win for the Cougars says Dickey.
“This is a big game for a lot of reasons,” says Houston Head Basketball Coach, James Dickey. “(It’s) a conference game, home game. We want to get as many victories as we possibly can, build momentum – move ourselves up in the Conference standings for the tournament. And the hole we put ourselves in for every game is important. So, this will be another one.”
The Cougars defeated the SMU Mustangs 62-59 last Saturday at Hofheinz Pavilion. They are now 13-14, 5-9 in C-USA. So, Dickey thinks this is a good time for his team to grab momentum based on what he saw of his team against The Mustangs.
“I was happy with the win. I wasn’t happy with the way we executed. We had chances to get up to double figures and didn’t do it. That always helps to get over that double-figure psychological point.”
The Cougars allowed three-point shot opportunities to SMU near the end of the game that could have ended up costing them, says Dickey.
“At the end we talked about them having 6-three’s. We got four in the last 4 minutes and they had 5 in the last 4 minutes. That’s a lot of three’s. So, I wasn’t happy with the way that we closed out the game other than the fact that we won and we made big free throws. I was pleased with that.”
The Cougars were up 58-56 with :09 seconds remaining in the ballgame when junior guard Jonathon Simmons was fouled. He would drain two free throws to give the Cougars a 60-56 lead.
However, on SMU’s possession, Jeremiah Samarrippas would hit a ‘3’with only :02 seconds remaining to cut the lead to 60-59. SMU then needed to foul on the inbounds and chose UH freshman guard Joseph Young who was 5-of-5 for the game.
Young would seal the win for the Cougars after hitting two. He finished 7-of-7 from the free throw line and led the Cougars with 27 points in his best game as a Cougar.
“Joe played really well,” says Dickey. Joe was really balanced at the free throw line seven times. He was balanced between his two-pointers, three-pointers. His ball-fakes were excellent. Got to the mid-range game and drove.”
“Had a nice penetrating dish off Tashon (Thomas) for a dunk. So, I thought Joe played a well-balanced game plus he played hard on the defensive end as well. That’s probably, in my opinion, his most complete game of the year.”
SENIOR NIGHT FOR THIBODEAUX
This is it for senior Darian Thibodeaux who will play his last home regular season game in Hofheinz Wednesday night. The lone 6’3” senior guard from Dallas and Navarro Junior College started all 30 games during the 2011 season and 22-of-27 games this season. He will be missed says Dickey.
“We were happy to be able to sign him. We got here late. Has been a very good defender for us, good three-point shooter, hard worker and he still continues to work hard in practice and we want him to close out his senior year on a positive note. Certainly the most important thing is he’s done well academically and he’s on track. We want him to graduate.”
GREENWAVE ENTER THE DEN
The Greenwave suffered the loss of junior guard Kendall Timmons to an Achilles injury during their game versus Southern Miss back on January 7th. Up to that point, Tulane was 12-3 with Timmons averaging 13.6 points per game. They are 3-10 since and cougars Head Coach James Dickey understands why.
“They had a great 1-2 punch with Ricky (Tarrant) and Timmons – tore his Achilles. So, they lost him for the year. That was a big blow to their basketball program.”
However, Dickey says Tulane, which averages 65.6 points per game, is still a good team with the likes of 6’1” freshman guard, Tarrant, who averages 15.7 ppg.
“He is terrific”, Dickey says. “People talk about him being freshman of the year. There’s no doubt about that. But, he may be a first team All-Conference performer. He is just an outstanding player – leads the conference in scoring. He’s done a great job for Coach Conroy and the Greenwave and we’ll have to do a good job on him.”
Defensively, Dickey is correct as they allow opponents 72.3 ppg which ranks last in the conference. However, offensively the Cougars average 71.6 points per game which ranks 3rd best in the C-USA. They are also 12-5 at home and a pretty good free throw shooting team with a 71.5% average.
Junior guard Jonathon Simmons averages 14.7 ppg and leads the Cougars in scoring. That scoring average ranks 9th in C-USA. He’s also averaging 5.0 rebounds per game.
Sophomore 6’6” forward Alandise Harris averages 12.9 ppg and 6.1 rebounds per game, while freshman guard Joseph Young adds 11.5 ppg.
Freshman 6’8” forward TaShawn Thomas brings up the rear in the double-figure scoring category with a 10.6 ppg average, but a team-leading 8.1 boards per game which ranks 6th in C-USA. He is also ranked 2nd in conference with 2.2 blocked shots per game.
Tipoff gets underway Saturday night at 7:00 in Hofheinz Pavilion.