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.

Is he back to his old self?

How long can Russell Westbrook keep his hot streak up?

Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

On the Jump today, Rachel Nichols, Kendrick Perkins, and Paul Pierce discussed why the Rockets were successful in their last four games. In the last four games, Westbrook has been extremely hot. He has averaged 32.3 points per game in the Rockets last four wins.

How has Westbrook been able to do this? Westbrook is finally getting comfortable in Mike D' Antoni's offensive system. He is shooting 45.4% from the field in the last four games. Westbrook has been able to use his speed and quickness to get the basket. Besides Westbrook getting to the basket, he has been able to find his infamous pull up jump shot again. It was never lost but rare when he took that. Recently, Westbrook has taken over games or made clutch shots. He has not been shy of the moment in recent games against the Kings, Clippers, and Spurs.


The Jump | Rachel Nichols Praises Westbrook turning corner offensively well-timed - Rockets victory youtu.be


It was almost concerning that Westbrook looked like a role player. He was never to be found in the fourth quarter. In fourth quarters, it was mostly James Harden taking over games. Westbrook was a bystander in the earlier part of the season. It seems now that Westbrook has gained most of his confidence back. He has given Rocket fans a reminder of what he was in Oklahoma City. It looks like Harden and Westbrook are finally on the same page.

If Harden and Westbrook remain on the same page, will this keep Westbrook scoring at a high rate?

The answer to that question is yes. Westbrook and Harden combined for a total of 266 points in the last four games. These two are causing the Rockets to play great basketball. The Rockets might have a chance at an NBA title if they keep this up. Since these two are on the same page, this has allowed the offense to be more successful. For Westbrook to continue his success he must stay aggressive and not let Harden forget about him.



Westbrook has not looked this good since the first game of the season against the Milwaukee Bucks.

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