Sophomore guard Quentin Grimes scored 15 second-half points, as the Houston Cougars close out their regular-season schedule with a win over the Memphis Tigers.
Grimes leads No. 21 Houston to comeback win over Memphis Tigers
Trailing by four at the half, the Houston Cougars opened the final period on a 9-3 run led by sophomore guard, Quentin Grimes, who scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half. Behind Grimes, the Cougars outscored the Memphis Tigers 38-27 in the second half, en route to a 64-57 victory on Sunday, in front of a sellout crowd of 7,129 inside the Fertitta Center.
After picking up the intensity on both ends of the court, it was a come from behind win for the Cougars. Houston trailed for the majority of the first half shooting 22.2% from the field (0-5 3PT), including missing nine consecutive shots to close out the period.
"He [Grimes] struggled early in the first half. He does that sometimes, but you have to stay with it because I know how good he is. Sometimes they have got to get out of their own way," Cougars' Head Coach Kelvin Sampson said. "When he gets out of his own way and gives himself permission to go be a dominant player, he can do it."
Although Memphis also experienced their fair share of struggles from the field, the Tigers ended the half with a 30-26 lead, shooting 50% from the floor after a 1-for-10 start. Junior forward Fabian White kept the Cougars in striking distance scoring 14 of his team-high 18 points in the first half — to go along with 14 rebounds in the win.
For the second straight season, the Houston #Cougars are regular-season champions of the American Athletic Conferen… https://t.co/vVMmR61kZP— Coty Davis (@Coty Davis) 1583711052.0
"I was just playing for my team and especially for Y.G. (Chris Harris)," said White. "It's not us to lose two games in a row, and I don't believe we have since I got here. I wanted to keep that streak going."
In addition to Grimes, Nate Hinton stepped up huge in the win over Memphis, as the sophomore guard recorded 13 points and five rebounds in the win. In his final home game of his collegiate career, senior big man Chris Harris registered two blocks and three offensive rebounds.
#Tigers' head coach Penny Hardaway on Houston heading into the AAC Tournament. "Their [Cougars] energy is going… https://t.co/qX5QWiR7mq— Coty Davis (@Coty Davis) 1583697633.0
"Perseverance. I've seen a lot of teams have bad shooting nights and do not have a foundation they can lean on to win," Sampson said. "It's allowing your standards to give you a chance to create expectations — we lean on our culture."
In the loss, Tigers' freshman Precious Achiuwa scored a game-high 25 points and 15 rebounds. In what has been a consistent theme all season, Memphis committed 17 turnovers in which Houston converted into 18 points.
Following the win, the Cougars end the regular season with a 13-5 conference record (23-8 overall) and as American Athletic Conference champions for the second straight season. Up next, the Cougars will return to the court on Friday to take part in the American Athletic Conference Tournament in Fort Worth. Houston earned a bye into the quarterfinals and will play the winner of SMU vs. Tulsa.