Houston Basketball

Houston Basketball pulls away in the second half

These two NCAA tournament teams fell into each other’s lap. Both teams in need of games with Covid and a way to potentially build their resumes, Houston basketball, could schedule this game against Western Kentucky. The American Athletic Conference moved the game up against Wichita State that allowed for this game to happen. This was also a great move by the Conference as Houston basketball would have likely had issues with travel as that winter storm hit and shut down so much of Texas.

This is a great opportunity for both teams as the Hilltoppers have had some great games against top-end talent, including five wins against top 100 teams. Western Kentucky basketball has beaten Alabama, Memphis, Marshall twice, and Rhode Island. The Hilltoppers and Coach Rick Stansbury is 15-4 and is on top of the American East. Western Kentucky basketball has lost to West Virginia by six. The Hilltoppers then tough losses to Louisville by 21, Charlotte by four, and Louisianna Tech by five. Unfortunately, Western Kentucky basketball was without their sharpshooter in Luke Frampton. This team also had not played in the past 12 days.

Houston basketball has only tough losses against Tulsa by one, Wichita State by five, and ECU by nine. This was an excellent game for Houston basketball, winning 81-57 over Western Kentucky. While Grimes was the star of the night, Marcus Sasser and Tramon Mark added 12 points apiece.

1) Communication

Coach Kelvin Sampson came in with a plan as the team immediately went after the future NBA player, Charles Bassey. Houston basketball is known for its defense and rebounding. The ability to communicate for Houston basketball is something that all teams strive for. To hope to win, Western Kentucky basketball needs to communicate. The ball movement for the Cougars is scary and quick. The Hilltoppers will need to talk on switches and make sure they don’t get caught in a dead zone. Having active hands and putting your body on a Cougar player, Western Kentucky basketball will need to focus on disrupting Houston.

Part of this communication for Western Kentucky basketball will need to be focused on Quentin Grimes, and he made 7-for-12 from the field and 4-for-7 from the 3-point range for 21 points in the first half. Western Kentucky and Coach Stansbury got out, played, and coached in the second half. Grimes left the game with three minutes and finished 11-for-21 from the field, 8-for-16 from 3-point range, six rebounds, one assist, and two steals. Grimes scored a career-high 33 points taking the record for Houston basketball for points in Rob Gray’s game.

2) Be Aggressive

Western Kentucky basketball has shown to be great in the paint. This is an area that Houston basketball has really struggled against. When the Cougars are forced to defend in the paint, Houston basketball is prone to fouling. At the same point, the Hilltoppers need to box out and be aggressive on rebounds. In the first half, Western Kentucky dominated the boards with six offensive rebounds and 11 defensive rebounds, while Houston basketball had only four offensive rebounds and six defensive rebounds.

The Hilltoppers could get to the basket and the free-throw line ten times in the first half and went perfect at the charity stripe. At the half, Houston basketball led by one, with the score being 39-38 Houston. This team needs to remain aggressive. This number dropped off in the second half, and Houston basketball ran away with it. Western Kentucky basketball only made it to the line four times in the second half and made three of those shots. One of the most impressive plays almost seemed like offensive interference but was quite the putback.

Houston basketball needs to rebound. To separate from this tough Western Kentucky basketball team, the Cougars need to be aggressive in all aspects. While settling for 3-pointers worked well as the Cougars shot 54.5% from beyond the arc, Houston basketball will level out in that part of the game and could find themselves in a hole. Coach Sampson came back in the second half, and Houston basketball showed how good it could be. This team was nearly perfect in the second half, showing length, causing 20 turnovers in the game, 13 of which were steals and a few of which were shot clock violations.

3) Ball Movement

The most impressive aspect of this game was Houston basketball sharing the ball. The Cougars had 9 assists initially, which usually led to a wide-open shot from Quentin Grimes or Tramon Mark. DeJon Jarreau was dishing it out, having 4 assists in the first half. The ball movement for Houston basketball will be a huge part of this game, especially since Coach Rick Stansbury will likely want to take away the three. Western Kentucky basketball has such success on both ends in the paint that I expect the team to continue this trend. The ball movement in the second half allowed Houston basketball to separate from the Hilltoppers. The Cougars added six assists in the second half, took care of the basketball, and created open shots.

Houston basketball will host USF this Sunday, February 28, 2021. Western Kentucky is hosting FIU this Sunday, February 28, 2021.

 

Feature Image from Houston Basketball Twitter
(@UHCougarMBK)

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