Cougars pounded by Bulls
By Jake McKim
Daily Cougar Staff
Life after Kevin Gaines began Tuesday for
a depleted Houston squad as South Florida beat up the Cougars like a schoolyard
88-57 on Tuesday.
Kevin Harwerth/The Daily
Freshman guard Brian Shelton
had a breakout night, scoring 15 points. Shelton got his first start when
four Cougars were serving their
With starters Gaines, Dominic Smith and
Louis Truscott and sixth man Marcus Oliver suspended for violating team
rules, the Bulls took
advantage of the Cougars' utter lack of
depth, ball-handling and scoring ability to keep UH at arm's length throughout
It didn't help matters that it was Senior
Night for South Florida and the Bulls' top seniors, Altron Jackson and
B.B. Waldon, put on a
show for the adoring fans.
Jackson, Conference USA's all-time leading
scorer, finished with 28 points, five rebounds and five assists, and Waldon
points and eight boards.
The Bulls jumped out to a 30-16 lead with
seven minutes in the first half and looked like they might put the game
away early. But the
players who made up the six-man rotation
for the Cougars battled hard and went to halftime down 42-30.
The second half was a completely different
story. The Bulls punished the hapless Cougars and led by more than 20 for
most of the
half. In the end, the Bulls' fans taunted
the Cougars and cheered their team as the Bulls coasted to an easy victory.
Without his usual ball-handlers, UH head
coach Ray McCallum was forced to play 6-8 junior forward George Williams
at point guard.
The strategy didn't work as the Cougars
turned the ball over a season-high 26 times.
On the bright side, freshman guard Bryan
Shelton took advantage of his first start, scoring a career-high 15 points
on 6-of-8 shooting.
Senior center Patrick Okafor led the Cougars
with 18 points and five rebounds and junior forward Jeremee McGuire finished
points and eight boards.
Senior swingman Terry Price added five
points, and sophomore walk-on Julius Keys had three.
"We had some guys who really emerged tonight,"
McCallum said. "Bryan really played with poise and confidence. I think
he's going to
grow and blossom from this."
The Cougars dropped to 15-13 overall, 8-7
in C-USA, while the Bulls moved to 18-10, 8-7 in C-USA.
The teams each have one game remaining
to decide who will get the fifth seed in the conference tournament next
McCallum has not yet announced whether
Smith, Truscott and Oliver will rejoin the team for this Saturday's game
after violating team
curfew last Saturday after a road loss
to East Carolina.
Gaines has been suspended for the season
and remains in a Greenville, N.C., jail for allegedly assaulting a woman
morning. Gaines is scheduled to appear
in court March 13.