Sophomore guard Quentin Grimes scored a career-high 32 points as the Houston Cougars complete comeback victory over the Rice Owls

Second-half surge leads Houston past Rice in dramatic finish

Kelvin Sampson. Getty Images

The Houston Cougars trailed 77-71 late in the second half to the Rice Owls when junior forward Fabian White knocked down two free throws to cut into the deficit. Following a made 3-point field goal by Quentin Grimes, the Cougars ignited for a 21-1 run late in the second half, which led to a 97-89 victory over the Owls Tuesday night inside Tudor Fieldhouse in Houston.

Shortly after the win, Grimes said this game was an example of how great this team can be, calling the Cougars one of the best in the nation. While Houston will be among some of the top teams in college basketball, this game also proves how great Grimes will be on an individual standpoint.

The sophomore guard from the Woodlands put on a show in the Cougars comeback victory, as he recorded a career-high 32 points (11-17 FG, 4-6 3PT), nine rebounds and five assists in the win. While coming up huge in the clutch, Grimes scored 21 of his total points during the Cougars second-half surge.

Despite picking up their second win on the new season, the game for the Cougars did not start on the right note. Following a 3-point basket by Rice guard Trey Murphy, the Owls jumped out to a 5-0 run and held the lead for the entire first half. Rice increased its lead to a 15-point advantage as Houston failed to buy a bucket in the first 15 minutes. Following a timeout by a frustrated Kelvin Sampson, the Cougars ended the half on a 13-5 run but still trailed 39-32 at the halftime break.

As Houston started to connect on the offensive end, the Cougars picked up their intensity on the defensive end after a switch to zone defense in an attempt to slow down the Owls.

In addition to Grimes, several players stepped up big for the Cougars, with freshman guard Marcus Sasser scoring 15 points on 55.6% shooting from the field, 62.5% from deep, in his first career start. Nate Hinton and DeJon Jarreau both added in 15 points of their own, with Caleb Mills pouring in 12 points off the bench.

With the win, the Cougars snapped the Owls four-game win streak and gave them their second loss of the regular season. In a losing effort, Owls were led by senior forward Robert Martin, who recorded 23 points while shooting 50% from the floor. Drew Peterson and Ako Adams both added 16 points apiece for Rice.

Following a comeback win, the Houston Cougars will hit the road for an early-season test against the No. 11 Oregon Ducks on Friday, inside the Matthew Knight Arena in Oregon. Tip-off is slated for 8 P.M. CT.

QUICK TIP-INS:

  • The Houston Cougars made only three triples in the first half before connecting on 10 made 3-point baskets in the second. (13-26 3PT)
  • The Cougars won the battle of the glass, out-rebounding the Owls 47-34, 16-8 in offensive rebounds in the win.
  • After they once trailed by 15-points, Houston once held a lead as big as 11 in the second half.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

A WEEKLY REVIEW OF O'BRIEN'S COACHING

Not my job: Texans outmatched when it counts against Steelers

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Another game, another loss for the Texans. This time it was only a seven point loss to the Steelers as they fell 28-21 in Pittsburgh. This time around, Bill O'Brien looked to be on his game as far as decision-making was concerned. However, there is still room for improvement.

One thing that I did appreciate that O'Brien did was have trust in the offensive line. The Steelers pass rush could be problematic, but their defense overall is very stout. That's how they were able to nearly make the playoffs last year with a Duck at quarterback. While the Texans did give up five sacks, they weren't all due to poor offensive line play. The Texans lost 33 yards on those five sacks. Tytus Howard and Zach Fulton handled themselves fairly well after looking like turnstiles the first two games. O'Brien called longer developing pass plays and play action in spite of this and it paid off with Deshaun Watson and his receivers putting up 264 yards in the air.

There also wasn't an instance of Bumbling Bill this game. At the end of the first half, there was a minute and fourteen seconds left. The Texans were down 17-14 and had all three timeouts with the ball on their 25-yard line. Classic Bumbling Bill situation right? Wrong! Not only was the play-calling on point, but the players executed and the timeout situation was handled perfectly. First timeout was used after getting to midfield with 47 seconds left. Timeout number two was used after a 20 yard gain after the previous play. A 15 yard gain later to the Steeler 14-yard line and timeout number three was used with 28 seconds left. This set up perfectly for them to call a multitude of plays. They only needed one as Watson found Will Fuller in the end zone on a jump ball in which Fuller rose up and was physical enough to grab the ball over the defender. They went up 21-17 at the half.

Bill O'Brien's teams were 37-3 when leading at halftime. I say "were" because they lost this one after not scoring a single point in the second half. This was more on the defense not being able to fight its way out of a wet paper bag, and a lack of execution by the offense. Specifically, the run defense has been atrocious and Watson either needs quicker reads or to stop holding onto the ball so long by making quicker decisions. That's on coaching to put players in positions to succeed, but also the players to execute.

Ultimately, this was on O'Brien the general manager more than O'Brien the coach. This roster is woefully outmatched. The only time an outmatched roster can compete consistently is in college football with a wacky offense. It just doesn't happen in the NFL. Hey, at least Bumbling Bill didn't rear his butt chin today. Today's Culture Map play call menu was brought to you by Pour Behavior. I suggest getting over there and checking out their daily specials.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome