COLLEGE BASKETBALL

UH men's basketball releases complete schedule for the 2019-20 season

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The University of Houston men's basketball team announced the release of their 2019-2020 schedule on Friday. The Cougars will play a total of 32 games beginning with a home exhibition match against Angelo State on Nov. 9.

UH will tip-off their new season on Tuesday, Nov. 12 in a non-conference game against Alabama State inside the Fertitta Center in Houston. Highlighted by Oklahoma State making a trip to Houston on Sunday, Dec. 15, the Cougars' 10-game non-conference schedule will end against UTEP on Dec. 19, before taking part in the three-day invitational Diamond Head Classic from Dec. 22 - 25 in Honolulu, Hawaii.

The start of the American Athletic Conference 18-game schedule begins on Friday, Jan. 3 with UFC at home, which follows a two-game road trip against Temple (Jan. 7) and Tulsa (Jan. 11). The Cougars will welcome in-state rival SMU to the Fertitta Center on Wednesday, Jan.15 and a trip to Cincinnati on Feb. 1 -- a rematch of the 2019 AAC championship game last spring. Houston will end their conference schedule on March 8 in an AAC home showdown against Memphis.

Last year, the University of Houston men's basketball team had one of their most successful seasons in school history. They finished the year with a 33-4 record and appeared in their second consecutive NCAA Tournament. The Cougars advanced to the Sweet-16 before falling to the Kentucky Wildcats in a 62-58 loss.

UH Men's Basketball program enters the 2019-20 college season looking to defend their American Athletic Conference title with two-time defending Conference Coach of the Year winner Kelvin Sampson leading the way.

Houston Cougars head coach Kelvin Sampson says lack of experience is what caused a one-point loss

Cougars fall short of comeback in thrilling loss to BYU

Kelvin Sampson. Bob Levey/Getty Images

With five seconds remaining, the Houston Cougars led by one when Connor Harding inbound the ball for the BYU Cougars late in the second half. After nearly trailing the entire game, Houston was seconds away from completing what seemed to be an impossible comeback until the final minute of the game.

Harding made a clean pass to TJ Haws, who drove to the right side of the court and scored off a 15-foot fadeaway jumper at the buzzer. The basket gave the Cougars their first loss of the 2019-20 season in a 72-71 defeat to BYU, Friday night, inside in Fertitta Center in Houston.

"I thought their kids played well all night," Cougars head coach Kelvin Sampson said. "They have a very well discipline team that really understands what they are trying to do, and they did a great job executing."

Ahead of Friday's match against BYU, Kelvin Sampson spoke on the challenges of facing the Cougars on Thursday. In his interview, Sampson discussed the importance of defending the three against a great shooting team. Unfortunately, the problems he foreshowed became a reality.

Jake Toolson, who scored 14 points in the win, opened the game with a triple for BYU, as the Cougars jumped out to a 14 point advantage over Houston. BYU opened the game shooting 50.0% from deep while scoring 14 points in the paint, but more impressively, it was their play on the defensive end that gave way to a 35-28 halftime lead.

BYU forced Houston to commit nine turnovers in the first half, in which they would convert into 11 addition points. As Houston struggled to buy a basket shooting 36.7% from the field, 18.2% from 3-point range, the only bright spot for the Cougars in the first half came from Fabian White, as the junior forward recorded eight points, five rebounds and a block.

With their inability to score from the outside, the Cougars moved away from the 3-point shot attempts and focused their comeback scoring from the inside and picking up their defensive intensity. Midway through the second half, Cedrick Alley rejected a layup attempt from BYU's Alex Barcello, which gave way to an easy fastbreak bucket by DeJon Jarreau — the basket cut Houston's halftime deficit down to one.

Although Houston would have all the momentum on their side, the Cougars never took full control of the opportunity at hand. While they manage to hold BYU 3-point shooting to 28.6% in the second half, Houston gave up 18 points in the paint, as the Cougars scored on 11 layups.

"Hats off to BYU, but we did not play well to win this game," Sampson said. "We just made too many mistakes, and we have to catch up to ourselves. We have keep improving."

While White ended the night with 14 points and five rebounds, Houston was led in scoring by Caleb Mills. The freshman guard recorded a game-high 17 points in a loss, shooting 7-for-13 from the field, 1-3 from deep.

"He was not great on defense, but I was proud of Caleb," Sampson said. "He can score and was dependable in this game. I know the other guys will get better as the season go on, but he is just a talented offensive player."

Following the tough loss, the Houston Cougars will hit the road on Tuesday to face off against the 3-1 Rice Owls, inside the Tudor Fieldhouse in Houston. Tip-off is slated for 7:00 P.M.

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