Sophomore guard Nate Hinton records double-double en route to the Houston Cougars' blowout victory over the Angelo State Rams

Cougars get blowout victory over Rams in exhibition game

The University of Houston Men's basketball team may be on the verge of something special ahead of the 2019-20 College Basketball season. In their lone exhibition match, the Cougars took a 108-42 victory over the Angelo State Rams on Saturday night inside the Fertita Center in Houston.

It was a wire-to-wire victory as the Cougars jumped out to an early 13-2 advantage that was ignited by forward Brison Gresham, who scored on Houston's opening possession with a hook shot over his left shoulder.

"I take nothing from this game," head coach Kelvin Sampson said after the win. "I don't get carried away with individual performances or scores because it really means nothing. I keep everything in perspective. We have a long way to go before we can get to where we are trying to get too."

While Houston would go on to shoot 64.1% from the field, 46.7% from deep, the Cougars took a 61-25 lead into the halftime break due to their defensive intensity. During the first 20 minutes of the game, the Cougars recorded four blocks and four steals, as well as forced the Rams into 12 turnovers in which they converted into 18 addition points.

Against a team that averaged 80.5 points per game last season, the Cougars held the Rams to 17 points in the second half en route to the win.

"That's the culture of the program," sophomore guard Nate Hinton said. "Defense is what keeps us going, and it is the main focus of this team."

With three steals and one block on the night, Hinton was the defensive anchor for Houston but had an exceptional performance on both sides of the ball. He finished with a double-double of 18 points (game-high) shooting 9-for-16 from the floor, to go along with 13 rebounds.

In his unofficial debut as a member of the Cougars, sophomore guard Quentin Grimes recorded 16 points (6-8 FG, 2-4 3PT), while Marcus Sasser led the bench in scoring with 17 points for Houston. In a losing effort, the Rams were led by guards Paul Williams, who recorded 14 points, and Collin Turner, who poured in 13 for Angelo State.

Following the exhibition win, the Houston Cougars will return to the court on Tuesday to take on the Alabama State Hornets to open their 2019-20 season. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. inside the Fertita Center in Houston.

Is he back to his old self?

How long can Russell Westbrook keep his hot streak up?

Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

On the Jump today, Rachel Nichols, Kendrick Perkins, and Paul Pierce discussed why the Rockets were successful in their last four games. In the last four games, Westbrook has been extremely hot. He has averaged 32.3 points per game in the Rockets last four wins.

How has Westbrook been able to do this? Westbrook is finally getting comfortable in Mike D' Antoni's offensive system. He is shooting 45.4% from the field in the last four games. Westbrook has been able to use his speed and quickness to get the basket. Besides Westbrook getting to the basket, he has been able to find his infamous pull up jump shot again. It was never lost but rare when he took that. Recently, Westbrook has taken over games or made clutch shots. He has not been shy of the moment in recent games against the Kings, Clippers, and Spurs.


The Jump | Rachel Nichols Praises Westbrook turning corner offensively well-timed - Rockets victory youtu.be


It was almost concerning that Westbrook looked like a role player. He was never to be found in the fourth quarter. In fourth quarters, it was mostly James Harden taking over games. Westbrook was a bystander in the earlier part of the season. It seems now that Westbrook has gained most of his confidence back. He has given Rocket fans a reminder of what he was in Oklahoma City. It looks like Harden and Westbrook are finally on the same page.

If Harden and Westbrook remain on the same page, will this keep Westbrook scoring at a high rate?

The answer to that question is yes. Westbrook and Harden combined for a total of 266 points in the last four games. These two are causing the Rockets to play great basketball. The Rockets might have a chance at an NBA title if they keep this up. Since these two are on the same page, this has allowed the offense to be more successful. For Westbrook to continue his success he must stay aggressive and not let Harden forget about him.



Westbrook has not looked this good since the first game of the season against the Milwaukee Bucks.

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