Caleb Mills and Fabian White Jr. lead the Houston Cougars with a win to close out the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic

Cougars win Hawaiian Classic with victory over Huskies

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It was a holly jolly Christmas for the Houston Cougars as they closed the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic with a 75-71 victory over the No. 21 Washington Huskies Wednesday night inside the Stan Sheriff Center in Hawaii. With the win, the Cougars closed the mid-season tournament as champions while improving to 10-3 on the season.

After a solid performance in their previous game against Georgia Tech, freshman guard Caleb Mills and junior forward Fabian White Jr. scored 19 points apiece to help lead a comeback victory for the Cougars. White earned the tournament's Most Outstanding Player award while shooting 7-for-13 (53%) from the field.

Down 36-31 at the half, Houston trailed by as many as 14 points early in the first period. Behind a 12-point second-half surge by White, the Cougars outscored the Huskies 44-35 in the final 24 minutes en route to their fourth straight victory.

While playing from behind most of the game, the Cougars' offensive woes played the most significant part in their early struggles against the Huskies. Houston only connected on 37.3% of their shots while Washington shot 46.2% from the floor. Sophomore guard Quentin Grimes ended the night with an all-around performance of 14 points, six rebounds, six assists and two steals in the win.

In the loss, Isaiah Stewart led the Huskies in scoring with a game-high 25 points (8-for-13 FG, 9-11 FT) to go along with eight rebounds and two blocks.

Following the win, the Cougars will open their American Athletic Conference play with a showdown against UCF on Friday, Jan. 3, inside the Fertitta Center in Houston. Tip-off is slated for 6 P.M. CT.

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In the last four games, Russell Westbrook has been averaging 31.5 points per game. Even in the Rockets tough four game losing streak, despite not playing against the Memphis Grizzles, he has been the bright spot for the Rockets.

Honestly, the Rockets need Westbrook because of the energy he brings to the team. He always keeps the offense flowing and teammates active. Westbrook can give his team a sense of urgency when he is hot. He is a huge confidence builder to the team because of the positivity Westbrook brings. Westbrook is never hard himself because he does not want his emotions to get in front of his play. Being able to watch Westbrook motivate his teammates is amazing. Allowing himself not to get frustrated, unmotivated, or rude towards his teammates, caused the Rockets to get a must needed win against the Denver Nuggets Wednesday night.

"Obliviously that helps winning, but um through it all you got to stay positive. I know sometimes it's difficult. When your losing, in a drought, you're not shooting well, you're not playing well, but greater days are coming. I believe that; I truly believe that. I stay positive always; it's pushing us in the right direction." Westbrook told the press.

Westbrook loves keeping his teammates involved to keep the defense guessing.

"He is so versatile; he gets everybody involved. When he is attacking the rim, everybody is on alert. Guys get open shots." Harden told the press.

Westbrook field goal percentage is starting to improve now. Over the last four games he has been shooting 56.3% from the field. He is starting to let the game come to him now. Westbrook has become more aggressive in an efficient manner by attacking the rim more. Instead of Westbrook jacking up random three-point shots, he has taken minimum attempts. He is figuring out his strengths which is playing below the arc. Westbrook is much more dangerous when he is attacking or on a fast break.

Westbrook is starting to look more unstoppable than Harden right now. He has been holding the offense above float because of Hardens bad play. Hopefully, Westbrook keeps this up and continues to elevate the play of his teammates. This could continue the success after Wednesday night's win.

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