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Coogs come from behind to ground the Flyers

Cougar Basketball

By Jason Caesar Consolacion 
Men’s Basketball 

Playing without junior point guard Gee Gervin, who leads the Cougars in scoring and assists, the UH men’s basketball team came from behind to defeat

the Houston Flyers 85-80 in an exhibition contest at Hofheinz Pavilion on Friday night.

With the game tied at 77 with 1:08 to go, junior forward Kenny Younger spotted

sophomore guard Treva Crosby wide open behind the three-point line. Crosby received Younger’s pass and knocked down the shot that gave the Cougars the lead for ood.

"I drew that play out for Kenny," UH head coach Clyde Drexler said, "but being the great player that he is, he saw Treva get wide open."

"They were pressuring Kenny in the post so I was able to come off a screen," Crosby said of the play. "I had a wide open shot, so I took advantage of it. That’s what I’m out there to do — hit threes."

Sophomore guard Chad Hendrick and freshman guard Moses Malone Jr. knocked down free throws to ice the game.

The Flyers, a team made up of former college and pro players, jumped out to a 10-point lead at halftime after the Cougars committed 12 turnovers. The

Flyers shot 40 percent from the floor in the first half while limiting the Cougars’ shots to only 29 attempts.

Galen Robinson, who played in a Cougar uniform last season, finished with a monster game (20 points, 16 rebounds) as did another former Cougar, Willie yrd (17 points, 3-for-9 from behind the arc).

"Those former Cougars looked really good! I’m trying to find out if they have any eligibility left," Drexler joked. "But seriously, Galen was just amazing. He’s a legitimate post-up player. If we still had him, we’d win a lot more ames."

Nevertheless, UH (4-4) was able to come out in the second half and contain its former teammates. The Cougars limited the Flyers to nine points in the first 8:26 of the second half and outscored them 51-36 to come from behind for the victory, despite committing 25 turnovers.

Four Cougars finished in double figures. Younger, the team’s second leading scorer, had 20 points, nine rebounds, two steals and a block. He got help from unlikely heroes Crosby (17 points, three assists, two steals) and Malone (17 points, 12-for-13 from the free-throw line).

Hendrick added 13 points, nine rebounds and three assists while junior forward William "Goodfellow" Stringfellow had another double-figure rebounding night with 12 boards.

"In the second half, we came out and played with a lot of character," Drexler said. "We gave the effort and good things happened.

"We had some guys step up. Kenny Younger was his usual consistent self and we were able to see what Treva Crosby can do. Treva had a phenomenal game. He really showed that he wanted to earn more playing time and he did what he had to do."

Drexler also pointed out the players that stepped up to do the little things, especially Malone and Hendrick.

"Moses is starting to mature," he said. "In the last few games he’s shown a lot of improvement. In the first half (Friday), he got down on himself and committed a few turnovers, so I brought him back to the bench, talked to him and sent him back out.

"He responded beautifully and played a great game after that. I thought his defense was stellar. He did a great job on Glenn Ferguson (8-for-24, four turnovers) and all night long he was very solid.

"Chad had a very solid game. He only played 20 minutes, but he had nine rebounds and we need that kind of production from him. He showed his veteran 
leadership out there. He had a pretty bad first half (two points, three turnovers), but he came out in the second half and got comfortable. I was so proud of him."

Granted, this was an exhibition game, but Coach Drexler believes that games like this will help the team down the road.

"This game was a character builder," he said. "In the first half, we’re playing without Gee Gervin, who does most of the ball handling on the court and everything else to take pressure away from the other guys. We were a little confused in the first half, just trying to adjust to the fact that Gee wasn’t there.

"Finally, in the second half, we got used to the fact that he wasn’t and started to feed off each other. Everybody contributed to the win. Kenny, Treva, Chad, Stringfellow, Moses and (guard) Torrence (Botts) all did their jobs.

"We played as a team. We played without Gee, but we pulled together and that builds character for the tougher games."

Time will tell if all this experience will pay off in the future. So far, four of UH’s five wins (including Friday’s exhibition) this season have been decided by five points or fewer.

The Cougars played No. 3 Cincinnati on Tuesday to start conference play. Before the game, Coach Drexler spoke highly of the Bearcats.

"They’re a great team," he said. "They’ve got a lot of good players who do a lot of things well. I think they’re one of the better teams in the country,

but any team can be beat. We just need to find a weakness in their game and exploit it. Hopefully we can do that."

The team will spend Christmas at home, then travel to Albuquerque, N.M., or the Lobo Invitational Tournament on Dec. 28 and 29.

They will resume conference play at DePaul on Jan. 2 before returning home to play Southern Mississippi on Jan. 7 at Hofheinz Pavilion.
 

Consolacion can be reached at 
dcsports@mail.uh.edu

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