Freshman guard Caleb Mills scored 22 of his career-best 27 points in the second half to lead the Cougars to a win.

Cougars' second-half surge leads to blowout win over Tulsa

Freshman guard Caleb Mills scored back-to-back field goals to extend the Houston Cougars' halftime lead to 11 coming out of the break. His hot start to the second half gave way to a 22-point explosion, as the Cougars took a 76-43 victory over the Tulsa Golden Hurricane, Wednesday night, inside the Fertitta Center in Houston. Following a one-point overtime loss to SMU on Saturday, the Cougars improve to 11-3 (21-6 overall) in conference play.

After averaging 5.0 points shooting 12% from the field over the previous two games, it was a complete 180 turnaround for Mills, as he ended the night with a career-best 27 points shooting 56.2% from the floor, 55% from behind the arc.

"I give all the credit to my teammates," Mills said after the win. "When I came into this game, I did not want to settle for 3's because my shot has been off over the past few games. Once my teammates helped me get going from the mid-range, everything else came easy for me."

Despite the final score, the first half did not go as planned for the Cougars. After opening the game shooting 50% as a team, Houston was fortunate to hold a six-point lead at the half (26-20), as the Cougars went on to miss 11 of their next 13 shot attempts.

During the second half, UH build of their 7-0 run to close the first period en route to their 33-point win. Houston outscored Tulsa 50-23 in the final period, as sophomore guard Nate Hinton added 15 points to go along with six rebounds.

"We had our fair share of struggles throughout the year, especially with our play coming out of the second half, and it cost us some games this season," Hinton said. "We had to stay with an aggressive mindset and keep the defensive intensity going until that final buzzer sound."

In the loss, Martins Igbanu led the Golden Hurricane with 15 points, while Jeriah Horne added in 12 points and seven rebounds.

Following the win, the Cougars moved back into sole possession of first place in the American Athletic Conference standings, with Cincinnati falling at home to Central Florida on Wednesday.

Up next, the Cougars will travel to Memphis to take on the 18-8, 7-6 Memphis Tigers, Sunday, inside the FedExForum. Tip-off is slated for 1 P.M. CT.

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Composite photo by Jack Brame

Former Astros manager Andrew Jay Hinch is on a short list of candidates to become manager of the Detroit Tigers in 2021.

The question is, after being suspended and later fired for his role in the Astros sign-stealing scandal, does A.J. Hinch deserve to manage again in baseball?

It's weird to think because so much has happened in 2020, but Hinch was suspended and fired only nine months ago. His banishment, however, ends in a matter of weeks with the final out of the upcoming World Series. At that point, he will be available to manage the Tigers or any other team. There's a possibility that the Mets are interested. Some were hoping it'd be the Astros, but the Astros are committed to manager Dusty Baker for next year. After that … never say never.

Shortly after getting the Astros ax, Hinch went on MLB TV and apologized for his role in the Astros cheating scandal. Although baseball's investigation said the garbage can banging scheme was "with the exception of (Astros coach Alex) Cora, player-driven and player-executed," Hinch took responsibility as manager and didn't challenge his punishment. No players were punished.

"I still feel responsible and will always feel responsible as the man out front," Hinch said. "As the leader, I was in charge of the team. I put out a statement to apologize. But there is something different to doing it on camera and putting a face to an apology, and saying I'm sorry to the league, to baseball, to fans, to players, to the coaches.

"It happened on my watch. I'm not proud of that. I'll never be proud of it. I didn't like it. But I have to own it. And the commissioner's office made very, very clear that the GM and the manager were in position to make sure that nothing like this happened. And we fell short."

In effect, while Hinch didn't authorize or participate in the sign-stealing scandal, he didn't do enough (really anything) to stop it. He is the rare case of being a guilty bystander.

To be clear, Hinch has not been offered the Detroit manager job. However, he has more experience and more wins under his belt than most of the other candidates being considered.

Hinch's reputation is blemished, but his credentials can't be disputed. During his five years as Astros manager, the team never had a losing season, won 100 or more games three times, including a team record 107 wins last year, made the playoffs three times and won a World Series.

Has baseball forgiven Hinch, and does he deserve another chance to manage in the big leagues? This is America, the land of forgiveness and second chances.

As Mahatma Gandhi said, "The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong."

Hinch knew his team was cheating and didn't do enough to stop it. There's no defense for that. But I think he's paid enough of a price to get back in baseball.

Mike Tyson raped a woman, went to jail, and now he's practically America's sweetheart. Hillary forgave Bill. We not only forgave Confederate leaders, we built schools and statues to honor them. Martha Stewart went to jail for insider trading, now she's back on TV baking crumpets. Ozzy Osbourne was arrested for pee'ing on a monument outside the Alamo, there is no more sacred place in Texas, and now he sells out concerts at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion.

Pee-wee Herman, well, let's not say what he was caught doing, but he's planning to tour the U.S. celebrating the 35th anniversary of Pee-wee's Big Adventure movie.

Remember, Hinch was suspended for a year. It could have been worse. Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred has the power to ban people for life. Since becoming the commish, Manfred has permanently banished two people: former St. Louis Cardinals scouting director Chris Correa for hacking into the Astros computer database, and former Atlanta Braves general manager, John Coppolella for signing international players illegally.

Manfred also has temporarily banned Astros assistant general manager Brandon Taubman for shouting inappropriate comments at female reporters last year. Taubman is eligible to apply for reinstatement after this year's World Series. However, if he commits one more violation of baseball rules, he will be banned for life.

Lifetime bans aren't as unusual as you might think. Since baseball's beginnings in the 1800s, dozens of players, managers and team owners have been banned, mostly, like Pete Rose and the Chicago Black Sox, for gambling-related offenses.

A.J. Hinch copped to his crime, suffered the consequences, now it's time for him to manage a baseball team again. It's not like he'd be landing a plum job with Detroit. The Tigers are out of this year's playoff picture. They lost 114 games last season. And were 64-98 the two years prior. Managing the Tigers will be punishment enough.

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