The Houston Cougars record a season-high 11 blocks in a blowout victory over the UTEP Miners.

Cougars defense tops Miners in blowout victory

Getty Images

It did not take long for the Houston Cougars to pick up where they left off during the second half of their previous game. Playing with high energy on both ends of the floor, the Cougars took a 77-57 victory over the UTEP Miners, Thursday night, inside the Fertitta Center in Houston.

With the win, the Cougars improve to 7-3 on the season while the Miners suffered their second loss of the year with an 8-2 record.

"We keep getting better and believing in what we are doing," head coach Kelvin Sampson said after the win. "This team is still learning how to play with each other, and we gotta keep fighting and getting better."

Although they had a solid night on the offensive end shooting 43.9% from the floor, and 50.0% from behind the arc, the Cougars' performance on the defensive end is what led to a wire-to-wire victory. UH recorded a season-high 11 blocks with junior big man Brison Gresham leading the way with a career-best six rejections to protect the paint. In addition to recording 10 points, Gresham also received his first double-double of the season with 12 rebounds.

"It's the way I practice," Gresham said. "I put in a lot of work over the past two days and I feel like my energy carried over to the game."

Houston led by double figures for the majority of the game, but the Miners went on several runs in a come back attempt. UTEP's biggest stretch came late in the first half on a 12-0 run to cut their 15-point deficit down to three. The Cougars withstood the Miners' surge to take a 37-27 lead into the half.

Following a career performance against the OSU Cowboys on Sunday, Caleb Mills scored 17 points (7-17 FG, 2-2 3PT) in his first career start in the win. With his fifth double-double of the season, sophomore guard Nate Hinton added 17 points of his own to go along with 10 rebounds.

"Nate [Hinton] is one of those guys you take for granted because he does it every night," Sampson said. "The most impressing thing about Nate tonight, he had 17 points on six shots — very efficient."

In the loss, the Miners were led by junior forward, Bryson Williams, who scored 17 points while shooting 7-for-19 from the field (37%), 3-for-6 (50%) from deep. The only other player to score in double figures for UTEP was Souley Boum, who recorded 13 points.

Following the win, the Cougars will hit the road to compete in the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic inside the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu on Dec. 22-25.

Quick Notes:

  • After going scoreless in his last game, Quentin Grimes scored four points shooting 2-for-8 from the floor.
  • The Cougars won the battle of the boards out-rebounding the Miners 49-34.
  • The Cougars scored a total of 34 points in the paint.

Caleb Mills and DeJon Jarreau leads second half rally in Cougars' comeback win over the UConn Huskies.

Cougars rally late to take home victory over UConn

Getty Images

The University of Houston Men's Basketball team trailed 50-44 with a little over five minutes left in the second half. In a game where the Cougars failed to capitalize on several missed opportunities, Houston closed out the contest on a 17-5 run en route to a 63-59 victory over the UConn Huskies, Thursday night, inside the Fertitta Center in Houston. With the win, the Cougars have now won nine of their last 10 games while improving to 5-1 in conference play (15-4 overall).

"Sometimes when you don't play your best game and you are in a fight like this, you have to find a way to win," head coach Kelvin Sampson said after the win. "That's when our culture comes in and the way we practice every day."

Continuing his phenomenal play during his first season in Houston, freshman guard Caleb Mills scored a game-high 20 points (5-11 FG, 2-3 3PT, 8-8 FT) — as he registered 18 in the second half. With 48 seconds left in the final period and the game tied at 55 apiece, Mills connected on a contested mid-range jumper to put the Cougars ahead by two.

"It wasn't a lot of pressure on my end.....I wanted to take the shot," Mills said. "Coach told me when he recruited me that I was going to have opportunities to take big shots, so I was not surprised by the play he drew up for me late in the game."

Unlike their previous contest on Saturday, it was a backcourt affair as Mills and Jarreau scored the final 17 points for the Cougars down the stretch. The exceptional play by Houston's backcourt duo helped the Cougars overcome a six-point deficit in the final five minutes of the game.

Jarreau came two assists shy from recording the Cougars' first triple-double since Bo Outlaw in 1993, as the junior guard from New Orleans scored a season-high 18 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists in the win.

UConn's senior guard led the Huskies in the loss with 14 points, while junior forward Isaiah Whaley recorded 13 points and 11 rebounds of his own.

Following the win, the Cougars will return to their home floor on Sunday for an American Athletic Conference showdown against the 8-11, 1-5 USF Bulls. Tip-off is slated for 1 p.m. CT.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome