The Houston Cougars win their fifth straight game in blowout victory over the South Florida Bulls.

Cougars keep rolling in blowout win over South Florida

The Houston Cougars (16-4, 6-1) took care of business Sunday afternoon in a 68-49 victory over the South Florida Bulls inside the Toyota Center in Houston. While improving their winning streak to four, Houston has now won 10 of their last 11 games.

It was a dominating performance for the Cougars as Houston outplayed the Bulls in nearly every aspect of the game. While scoring a total of 34 points in the paint, the Cougars forced the Bulls to commit 15 turnovers in which Houston converted into 18 points.

"My staff does a great job in breaking film down, head coach Kelvin Sampson said after the win. "Our kids knew the actions, and of course, it comes down to executing principles. Basketball is a game of actions, and to be a good defensive team, we have to be able to adjust."

After coming just two assists shy from recording a triple-double last game, junior guard DeJon Jarreau led Houston in scoring with 12 points and six dimes while senior big man Fabian White Jr. added in 11 points and two blocks.

After opening the game on an 8-2 run, Houston en barked on a 17-5 run during the first half to take a 31-23 lead into the half. After extending their lead to 44-28 early in the second half, the Bulls did not get closer than 12 the remainder of the game.

"I'm extremely proud of our effort today," Kelvin Sampson said. "Sometimes when you don't shoot the ball well, it looks like you aren't playing good. It could not be further from the truth. We played good today, and we didn't make a lot of shots, but we did a lot of good things."

On a day where Houston failed to shoot over 40% from behind the arc (23.8%), it was the Cougars hustle plays that gave way to their 19 point victory. With 14 offensive boards, Houston recorded 17 second-chance points.

In the loss, neither of USF's players scored in double-figures, with Michael Durr and Antun Maricevic each led the team with eight points apiece.

Following the win, the Cougars will travel to Greenville, N.C. on Wednesday to take on the 9-11, 3-4 East Carolina Pirates. Tip-off is slated for 6 P.M. CT.


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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF CRENNEL'S COACHING

Now my job: Texans feast on Lions

Photo by Getty Images.

Thanksgiving is full of tradition. There's the typical family gathering, large meal, and of course, football. Sometimes, new traditions are added and old ones are retired. I think the Texans did both in their impressive 41-25 win over the Lions in Detroit. Old traditions were carried on (Lions losing on Thanksgiving), some were put to rest (Texans not being able to get turnovers), and new ones were started (multiple passing touchdowns by Deshaun Watson in six straight games).

The fact that this defense got three turnovers in the game was unbelievable! They got all three in the first quarter within the span of eight plays. JJ Watt's pick-six was insane. He went for a batted ball, ended up catching it, and ran it in. They forced Jonathan Williams to fumble on the Lions' very next play from scrimmage and recovered it. On the Lions' next possession, the Texans recovered yet another fumble after the challenge was reversed. Great call by the coaching staff to challenge and win. The defense looked good. Tyrell Adams stood out because he was in on those two fumbles, made 17 total tackles with 14 of them being solo tackles. They also brought pressure that seemed to make Matthew Stafford very inaccurate and resulted in four sacks. I give defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver credit for knowing he needs to blitz to get pressure, but the run defense has to improve.

The offense kept the tempo up in this game as well. The spread and hurry-up were used to keep the Lions already staggered defense off balance. Knowing the Lions were without a couple defensive backs, I thought it would be the perfect marriage of their defense and the Texans' offense. A buddy asked before the game about the line (Texans -3.5) and the over/under (52.5). I told him bet the Texans and the over because neither team can play defense and both have good quarterbacks. Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly put together another good game plan and Watson executed it flawlessly. One route combo I saw later on in the game I particularly enjoyed. Two receivers were tight to the left side. Cooks ran a hook/curl and settled in the middle of the zone while Fuller ran a vertical route. Duke Johnson ran a swing route to that same side. It left Cooks wide open as the attention went to Johnson in the flat, Fuller deep, and the action to the other play side. Route combos are important because it gives the quarterback different reads as he goes through his progressions and lets him pick apart the defense based on what he sees. Combine that with Watson's play and the way Kelly has changed his play calling now that he's liberated from he who shall not be named, we're seeing a beautiful thing.

As good as things were, there's still room for improvement. The defense gives up way too many easy yards, both run and pass. They can't get pressure bringing only four and will often give up big plays if the blitz is picked up. Plus the run defense is still an issue as evidenced by the Lions' first possession of the second half. The Lions ran the ball 10 plays straight for a total of 58 yards on that drive. Utterly ridiculous! Watson was good (17/25 318 yards and four touchdowns), but he missed two more touchdowns with passes slightly off, and continues to hold onto the ball too long at times. The difference between these two issues I've presented here is the fact that Watson has so played well, his "issues" are minor and very correctable, while the defense is terrible and there's no easy fix in sight. But let Romeo Crennel and Anthony Weaver tell it, they're getting the most out of these guys and they're playing disciplined.

The thought that this team may actually creep into the playoff picture may take shape better after next week if they can beat the Colts. I doubt it, but it is getting interesting. Let's see what else happens around them because they need help getting there.

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