Saturday, December 27, 2014

Houston comes up short against UCF with 64-50 loss in conference opener

Marche' Amerson (22) scored 10 points vs. UCF
to lead all Houston scorers.
Photo by Darla Tamulitis-La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2014 All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2014 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (December 27, 2014) Shooting only 30% from the floor, the Houston Cougars dropped their first conference game of the 2014-15 season with a 64-50 loss to the UCF Knights on December 27, 2014 at Hofheinz Pavilion in Houston. With the loss, the Cougars drop to 5-6 for the season and 0-1 in American Athletic Conference play.

It was a hard road to hoe for the Cougars, shooting only 31% from the field. Houston had been averaging 36.4% in their previous 12 games, in addition to pulling down an average of 35.9 rebounds per game. Against the Knights, the Cougars pulled down their second lowest number of rebounds in a game this season (29).

Forward Marche’ Amerson led the Cougars with 10 points; six of them from three-pointers, along with a season high three steals.  Forward Tyler Gilbert tallies eight rebounds and guard Alecia Smith had a career high of seven assists.

Houston team took a 29-26 lead into the locker room at halftime, however UCF came out in the second half and took command of the court. They outscored Houston 38-21 and took the lead with 10:41 remaining in the game. Capping off 13 unanswered points, along with five straight scoring shots gave the Knights a 43-35 lead. From that point, the game was all UCF.

UCF commanded the boards, out-rebounding Houston 55-27, pulling down 18 on the offensive end of the court which resulted in 23 second chance points. They also led Houston in points in the paint, 34-24 and bench points 26-18.

Photo by Darla Tamulitis-La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2014 All Rights Reserved
In the post-game press conference, Houston head coach Ronald Hughley was questioned about the Cougars’ performance. He responded:
“I wouldn't blame it on the (holiday)  break; it is just our confidence in shooting the basketball. When people play man against us, we are pretty good; when they show us the zone, we act like we have never seen it before in our lives. We didn't shoot the ball with confidence and we didn't penetrate the zone to make anybody else better. That is the one thing, you can’t play this game by yourself and on top of that you have to rebound the basketball. There were a lot of missed shots and a lot of missed opportunities that we didn't get rebounds.”
Houston’s next test will be on Sec. 30, 2014 in an 11 a.m. game versus Tulane in New Orleans. Hughley also commented in the press conference on the Cougars’ next opponent.
“Tulane is a very good team. The one thing I know that they are going to do is press us. We are usually the one  pressing people and turning the ball over, so we will get a little taste of the opposite side of that, but we will be prepared. If we are not tough going in there we will be walking out with our heads held down with another loss.”

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