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Volume 7, Issue 1                                    University of Houston
Cougars play Cards right

Junior Latham steps up in 85-77 victory over Lamar

Sam Kahn, Jr.
Breaking News

BEAUMONT -- Lamar head coach Billy Tubbs said his team had made it a point leading up to their game against the Cougars to keep guards Andre Owens and Lanny Smith in check.

Houston junior guard Brian Latham took it personally, at least on the court, and did about everything one could ask him to do by wreaking havoc on the Cardinals in the Cougars 85-77 victory Dec. 4 in front of 4,285 at the Montagne Center.

Latham finished with a career-high 21 points and added six assists, five rebounds, two steals, two blocked shots and a partridge in a pear tree, all while shutting down Lamar guard Raymond Anthony.

Pin Lim/Breaking News

Lamar kept the defense concentrated on sophomore guard Lanny Smith and senior guard Andre Owens, allowing junior guard Brian Latham to break out, scoring a career-high 21 points in the Cougars' 85-77 victory on Dec. 4.

"He's our stopper," coach Tom Penders said of Latham. "We said to heck with the trap-and-rotate (defense), let's put Brian on (Anthony)."

Penders was speaking of the trapping half-court defense the Cougars use, in which they run two defenders at the ball-handler, forcing him to pass and rotating according to the ball movement in an effort to create turnovers. They used more man-to-man Saturday in order to benefit from Latham's match-up with Anthony, and still were able to force 24 turnovers.

Anthony, a senior guard who averaged 18.5 points per game coming into the contest, was held scoreless in the first half and finished with six points on 1-5 from the field.

"Brian just totally shut (Anthony) down," Penders said. "He had no open looks."

Latham wasn't the only one getting the job done for the Cougars, however. UH found itself down by as much as seven in the latter stages of the first half only to jump on the shoulders of Latham, Owens and junior forward Ramon Dyer on its way to a 30-9 run, spanning the late-first and early-second halves to open up a 49-34 lead with 17:25 to go.

Lamar forward Alan Daniels, who finished with 32 points and 11 rebounds, then hit a barrage of threes to cut the lead to five. Owens and Latham then got hot again and put the game away by propelling Houston to a 22-7 run to give the Cougars an 81-61 lead with less than three minutes to play.

Owens picked up his first double-double of the season with 21 points and 10 rebounds on 6-11 shooting including four three-pointers. Smith finished with 11 and Dyer added a career-high 18 points as Houston shot a season-best 47 percent from the field. They also shot 53 percent from behind the arc and 84 percent from the charity stripe.

"I thought we semi-held them in check, Owens and Smith; Owens got hot later in the game," Tubbs said of the Cardinals. "I thought our defense was very soft. Houston has excellent guard play. I doubt we'll face another team that has the kind of guard play they have. They did a better job defensively and they played stronger than us."

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