The final dress rehearsal before conference play begins for all college basketball teams.

College basketball report Week 8: Conference play looms

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TEXAS LONGHORNS (10-2)

Last week (1-0): W-HPU 89-58

This week: Saturday vs. Baylor

The Texas Longhorns came away victorious in an 89-58 win over the High Point Panthers, Monday night, inside the Frank C. Erwin Jr. Center in Austin. Junior guard Jase Febres scored a game-high 16 points, as sophomore guard Andrew Jones added in 13 points and four assists in his first start following a battle with leukemia.

Winners of six of their last seven, the Longhorns will open their Big-12 schedule with a Texas Showdown against the Baylor Bears.

TEXAS A&M AGGIES (6-5)

Last week (1-0): W - Texas Southern 58-55

This week: Saturday vs. Arkansas

In a surprisingly competitive contest, the Texas A&M Aggies outlasted the Texas Southern Tigers in a three-point victory, Monday night, inside the Reed Arena in College Station. While recording 10 points, senior forward Josh Nebo was a dominant force in the middle for A&M as he tallied 15 rebounds and four blocks in the win.

After losing four straight, the Texas A&M Aggies will enter the SEC conference play riding a three-game winning streak ahead of their match against Arkansas on Saturday.

Houston Cougars (10-3)

Last week (1-0): W - Washington 75-71

This week: Friday vs. UCF

The Houston Cougars closed out the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic with a Christmas Day victory over No. 21 Washington Huskies Wednesday night. It was a come from behind win for the Cougars, as Houston trailed by 14 points early in the 1st half.

Behind a 19-point performance from both Caleb Mills and Fabian White Jr., UH went on to outscore the Huskies 44-35 in the second half to complete the comeback win.

With the upset over Washington, the Cougars won the mid-season Hawaiian tournament with White taking home Most Outstanding Player honors after averaging 14.6 points and 5.6 rebounds during the three-game tournament.

As they head back to Houston riding a four-game winning streak, the Cougars will open their American Athletic Conference play with a showdown against UCF on Friday.

RICE OWLS (8-5)

Last week (0-1): L - Sam Houston 75-61

This week: Thursday vs. Marshall, Saturday Western KY

The Rice Owls closed their non-conference schedule with a 75-61 loss to the Sam Houston State BearKats, Sunday afternoon inside the Tudor Fieldhouse in Houston. The Owls struggled out of the gate on the offensive end, and had no answer on the defensive end giving up 27 points (11-17 FG & 13 Rebs) to Kai Mitchell, Sam Houston's senior big man who scored a game-high in the win.

Following the loss, the Rice Owls will open their conference play against Marshall on Thursday, inside the Cam Henderson Center in West Virginia.

BAYLOR BEARS (10-1)

Last week (1-0): W - Jackson State 83-57

This week: Saturday vs. Texas

The sizzling No. 6 Baylor Bears continued their early-season success with an 83-57 win over the Jackson State Tigers, Monday night, in Waco. After coming out of the gates missing their first six shots, Baylor closed out the first half on a 32-6 run to take a 48-24 by halftime.

Four players scored in double figures for the Bears, as Jared Butler recorded 18 points while MaCio Teague finished the night with 16 points and Davion Mitchell had 14. Closing out their non-conference schedule on a nine-game win streak, the Baylor Bears will host the Texas Longhorns on Saturday to begin their conference play.

TCU HORNED FROGS (9-3)

Last week (1-0): W - George Mason 87-53

This week: Saturday vs Iowa

Desmond Bane proved to be too much for the George Mason Patriots to handle, as the senior guard scored a season-high 30 points in an 87-53 win for the TCU Horned Frogs. It was a wire-to-wire victory for TCU with Bane scoring 21 points in the first half shooting 5-for-7 from behind the arc.

Following the win, the Horned Frogs will open their Big-12 schedule on Saturday against Iowa State inside the Schollmaier Arena in Fort Worth.

TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS (9-3)

Last week: (1-0) W - CSU Bakersfield 73-58

This week: Saturday vs. Oklahoma State

The Texans Tech Red Raiders won their fourth consecutive game in a convincing 73-58 victory over the California State Roadrunners on Sunday. As a whole, the Red Raiders stayed hot throughout the game, as Texas Tech shot 49.0% from the field, and a blazing 53% from behind the arc. Both Jahmi'us Ramsey and Kyler Edwards registered 20 points apiece, as the only players to score in double digits for Texas Tech.

Following the win, The Red Raiders will open their Big-12 Conference play against the Oklahoma State Cowboys, Saturday, inside the United Supermarkets Arena in Lubbock, TX.

SMU MUSTANGS (9-2)

Last week (0-0): No Games Scheduled

This week: Wednesday vs USF, Saturday Vanderbilt

With no games on the schedule, SMU will return to the floor on Wednesday, January 1st, for a New Year showdown against the University of South Florida Bulls.

LSU TIGERS (8-4)

Last week (1-0): W - Liberty 74-54

This week: Saturday vs Tennessee

Following back-to-back losses to East Tennessee and USC, the LSU Tigers closed out their none-conference games with a 74-57 win over the Liberty Flames on Sunday. Behind a 14-point performance from Darius Day shooting 54% from the floor, and a dozen coming from Skylar Mays, the Tigers handed Liberty their first loss of the season.

LSU will prepare to open the SEC play on Saturday in a match against the Tennessee Volunteers inside the Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, TN.

Staying optimistic is the goal

Nate Hinton on COVID-19 and the short ending season

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Having a discussion with Nate Hinton, a potential upcoming draftee in the 2020 NBA Draft, on his short ending season because of COVID-19, was very resourceful. He was still able to stay very optimistic and promising towards the future. Hinton looks forward to seeing his teammates, coaches, and the NCAA come back stronger than ever from this.

As the discussion ran, Hinton expressed his shock for the NBA shutting down, although he knew the league would make the right decision so the virus would not spread.

"I was kind of in shock but when of the members caught it, I knew we were next. I also knew the knew the NCAA was going to take the same precaution."

Hinton has declared for the NBA Draft, but will keep his eligibility at UH just in case it does not work out.

Hinton also expressed his feelings towards his potential last season being cancelled. The team was on the way to the conference tournament when the news hit the surface. Hinton was able to keep a calm demeanor and not act bizarre.

"Just one of those numb feelings knowing we couldn't play no more. It was basically out of are hands. We were on the way to the conference tourney when we found out."

Hinton did mention that he was not too worried at first because of the unknowing of the virus. His main concern was being well educated on the situation before decisions were made. Hinton wanted to know the correct actions to take when told how to move through this pandemic.

"I wasn't too worried because I didn't know how serious it was. I didn't want to panic because things were shutting down. I just wanted to take it day to day and wait for the right outcome."

Hinton liked the idea of the NCAA shutting down because of COVID-19. He felt like it was the right action to take towards this virus. Hinton's concerns was for his family, friends, and fans to say safe through this epidemic.

"Since the NBA shutdown, it was cool that that the NCAA took precautionary measures. Because there a lot of fans that come to the event; including family that plan all year to come."

Hinton did make a great compliment on Coach Sampson's composure through the unsure times of the pandemic. He loved the fact that Sampson was able to stay calm when waiting on the information. Sampson did make sure that every kid made it home safely.

"He was like everybody else because he didn't know how serious it was. He needed more information on it. He was calm about the situation and was able to get us home safely. He was great throughout the process"

Hinton was very sympathetic towards the senior on his team. He really expressed his heart to Chris Harris, a friend on the team. Hinton wanted to see his friend finish strong because it was his last season.

"Chris Harris is a senior for our team, and he had realized that he played his last game. I assumed he was sad because he put a lot into the university and culture."

Hinton felt very confident that this Cougar basketball team was going to have a good run at March Madness this year. The Cougars were 23-8 on the season and 13-5 in conference. The Cougars lost last year in March Madness to the Kentucky Wildcats. People were concerned when the Cougars lost Corey Davis because he was the leading scorer last year. The team was still able to dominate conference with a young team and great coaching staff. They were able to become back to back American conference champs.

"We were very confident, and we were going to create buzz. We were going to be that team we expected no matter how young we were."

While playing with this university, he has played with two great teams, but which team was better? Hinton was very humble when he answered that question.

"Last year was much more senior lead and this year was young a team so we had to grow up together."

Hinton's game has improved a lot from last season. He was shooting the three ball at 38.7% this season and shot for 33.7% last year. Hinton also grabbed more boards this season than last season by averaging 8.7 rebounds a game. He was even the third leading scorer on his team this season. Hinton's biggest successes this season was making first team all-district for the NABC and second team all-conference in the American conference.


Nate Hinton Highlights vs UCF 20 points 1 3 2020 youtu.be


"I just worked and wanted to be dependable for my teammates and coaches. I learned from the seniors last year and teammates as well."

Hinton even expressed his gratitude on playing for Coach Sampson. He talked about how mentally tough players had to be to play with Coach Sampson.

"He wants us to play hard and compete second we're on the court. He demands perfection in imperfect game. He pushes you to be great at all cost. You got to be built different to play for him."

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