Eric Gordon scored 23 points, connecting on 7-of-9 three-pointers in the Rockets 101-96 win over the Los Angeles Clippers Thursday night at Toyota Center, but standing in front of his locker after the game, the Rockets guard was more excited to talk about the Houston Cougars 67-65 NCAA Tournament win over San Diego State.

“I love it. That’s the team I follow, (along with) the Indiana Hoosiers, but It’s great to see them win,” he said.

Gordon played his college ball at Indiana under Cougars’ head coach Kelvin Sampson. The two remain close as does Sampson and Rockets guard James Harden. Sampson was an assistant under Kevin McHale during Harden’s first two seasons with the Rockets. Both players were in attendance when the Cougars beat UConn on March 4.

“Shoutout to Coach Sampson and Houston. Advance, advance, that’s what it’s about, Harden said.”

Houston did just that thanks to a 39-point night from Rob Gray, capped by his game-winning layup with a second to play. Gray is the Cougars leading scorer, averaging over 19 points per game this season, and he has one skill in particular that has caught Harden’s eye.

“He gets buckets, man.”

Houston advances to take on Michigan in the second round of the NCAA Tournament Saturday, and while Gordon knows the task will be tough, he thinks the Cougars are up to the challenge.

“I think they’re going to be the underdog, and they’re going to be a tough team to be reckoned with.”