Houston Cougars

Johnny Jones
Associated Press

Defense, rebounding cost LSU in loss at Houston

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Having lost the biggest games on their non-conference schedule to date, LSU entered Sunday’s game at Houston in a position where they could ill-afford any more losses before the start of SEC play. But thanks to issues on the defensive end of the floor Johnny Jones’ team suffered its fourth loss of the season, falling 105-98 in overtime at Hoffheinz Pavilion.

Ben Simmons fouling out late in regulation did the Tigers no favors in the extra session, which came as a result of a Keith Hornsby three-pointer with nine seconds remaining in regulation. But when you defend and rebound at the level that LSU did Sunday night, it’s tough to win close games.

Houston shot 51.4 percent from the field and grabbed 17 offensive rebounds, converting those opportunities into 20 second-chance points. The played who posed the biggest issue for LSU in this regard was junior forward Chicken Knowles, who accounted for 20 points and nine rebounds before fouling out with six of his boards coming on the offensive end.

Houston scored 50 points in the paint Sunday night, taking advantage of numerous defensive breakdowns in the process. Those points came from second-chance opportunities and dribble penetration, with guard Rob Gray Jr. hitting multiple floaters on his way to a career-high 31 points. That all isn’t on the shoulders of the LSU big men given Houston’s ability to get quality looks off the dribble, but the Tigers need more from the likes of Aaron Epps (12 points) and Elbert Robinson III as they combined for four rebounds in the game.

The addition of Arizona transfer Craig Victor will help LSU in the front court; besides Simmons they don’t have much in the way of consistent production on the glass in the paint (Epps and Robinson average a combined six rebounds per game). But the Tigers’ issues when it comes to their lack of attention to detail, which was once again evident against Houston, cannot be solved by the arrival of one player.

That’s going to be a collective effort, and to this point in the season LSU hasn’t shown the ability to do this against quality competition on a consistent basis.

The offense is there, and the return of Hornsby is a big deal for a team that had issues with perimeter shooting. Hornsby scored 32 points, shooting 6-for-10 from three with his teammates combining to shot 3-for-16 from deep. Simmons added 13 points, 14 rebounds and five assists before fouling out, and Quarterman accounted for 27 points, ten rebounds and six assists off the bench (disciplinary reasons).

For all the talk about Simmons’ individual gifts and how his game translates to the next level, there’s work to be done at the college level first. And if Simmons and his teammates are to have any shot at getting to the NCAA tournament, they have to straighten things out on the defensive end.

Guy V. Lewis, coach of Phi Slama Jama teams, dies at 93

Guy Lewis
Associated Press
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HOUSTON (AP) Former University of Houston men’s basketball coach Guy V. Lewis, best known for leading the Phi Slama Jama teams of the 1980s, has died. He was 93.

He died at a retirement facility in Kyle, Texas, on Thanksgiving morning surrounded by family, the school said Thursday.

Lewis coached the Cougars for 30 years. He guided Houston to back-to-back NCAA title games in 1983 and ’84 but never won the national championship, losing to N.C. State in the 1983 final on Lorenzo Charles’ last-second shot, one of the NCAA Tournament’s greatest upsets and most memorable plays.

“It feels awful,” Lewis said after that game. “I’ve never lost a game that didn’t feel that way, but this one was terrible.”

Lewis, who helped lead the integration of college basketball in the South by recruiting Elvin Hayes and Don Chaney to Houston, was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013.

Known for plaid jackets and wringing his hands with a red polka-dot towel during games, Lewis compiled a 592-279 record at Houston, guiding the Cougars to 27 consecutive winning seasons from 1959-85. He was honored as the national coach of the year twice (1968 and `83) and led Houston to 14 NCAA Tournaments and five Final Fours.

Lewis had mostly avoided the spotlight since retiring in 1986. He suffered a stroke in February 2002 and had used a wheelchair in recent years.

He was known for putting together the “Game of the Century” at the Astrodome in 1968 between Houston and UCLA. It was the first regular-season game to be broadcast on national television. Houston defeated the Bruins in front of a crowd of more than 52,000, which, at that time, was the largest ever to watch an indoor basketball game.

Lewis attended the introductory news conference in December 2007 for Kevin Sumlin, the first black football coach in Houston history. It was a symbolic, significant appearance because Lewis signed Houston’s first two black basketball players and some of the first in the region in Hayes and Chaney in 1964, when programs were just starting to integrate.

Hayes and Chaney led the Cougars to the program’s first Final Four in 1967 but lost to Lew Alcindor’s UCLA team in the semifinal game.

“Basketball in the state of Texas and throughout the South is all due to coach Guy V. Lewis,” Hayes said in 2013. “He put everything on the line to step out and integrate his program. Not only that, he had vision to say: `Hey, we can play a game in the Houston Astrodome.’ Not only that, he just was such a motivator and such an innovator that created so many doors for the game of basketball to grow.”

Along with Hayes, Lewis also coached fellow All-Americans Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler. The three were included on the NBA’s Top 50 greatest players list in 1996. Lewis and North Carolina’s Dean Smith were the only men to coach three players from that list while they were in college.

Players and CBS announcer Jim Nantz lobbied for years for Lewis to get into the Naismith Hall of Fame. When he finally received the honor in 2013 he made a rare public appearance. It was difficult for him to convey his thoughts in words in his later years because of aphasia from his strokes, so his daughter spoke on his behalf at the event to celebrate his induction.

“It’s pure joy and we’re not even upset that it took so long. … Dad is used to winning in overtime,” Sherry Lewis said.

Lewis announced his retirement during the 1985-86 season, and the Cougars finished 14-14, his first non-winning season since 1958-59.

Guy Vernon Lewis II was born in Arp, a town of fewer than 1,000 residents in northeast Texas. He became a flight instructor for the U.S. Army during World War II and enrolled at the University of Houston in 1946.

He joined the basketball team, averaged 21.1 points and led the Cougars to the Lone Star Conference championship. By the early 1950s, he was working as an assistant coach under Alden Pasche and took over when Pasche retired in 1956.

Funeral services are pending.

AP Sports Writer Chris Duncan contributed to this story.

Houston lands commitment from three-star shooting guard

Kelvin Sampson
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Saturday afternoon Houston head coach Kelvin Sampson landed his first verbal commitment in the Class of 2016, as 6-foot-4 shooting guard Armoni Brooks announced that he’ll be a Cougar via his Twitter account. Brooks, who’s from Round Rock, Texas, made the decision to remain in his home state while officially visiting the American Athletic Conference program.

His decision comes despite having visits scheduled for Kansas State (September 10) and Creighton (September 16) over the next two weekends in September.

As a junior at McNeil HS, Brooks was a first team Region II all-region selection by the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches, and he played his grassroots basketball for the THP Elite program.

Brooks’ commitment gives Houston additional depth at a position where they’ll lose two seniors at the end of the 2015-16 season in LeRon Barnes and Eric Weary Jr., and the presence of redshirt junior Damyean Dotson will help Houston’s newest commit with his adjustment to the college game.

Video credit: TexasHoops Television

Former Duke guard speaks publicly for first time since dismissal from team

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Less than 24 hours after his team lost at Notre Dame in late January, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski made the decision to dismiss guard Rasheed Sulaimon from the program. It was a decision that caught many by surprise given the timing, not to mention the fact that it limited the Blue Devils to an eight-man rotation.

Sure enough Duke was able to ride that eight-man rotation to the program’s fifth national title, with a trio of freshmen (Jahlil Okafor, Tyus Jones and Justise Winslow) and senior guard Quinn Cook leading the way. Since Sulaimon’s dismissal neither he nor the program had discussed the situation until Wednesday, when the player spoke with ESPN.com about the situation.

Among the topics discussed was an allegation that Sulaimon had sexually assaulted two female students (on separate occasions), something Sulaimon vehemently denied. Sulaimon was never charged for either alleged incident, with an investigation into one of the allegations not even resulting in a student board hearing and the second not resulting a meeting between Sulaimon and Duke’s Office of Student Conduct.

“Me being dismissed from the team had nothing to do with this allegation,” Sulaimon said in his first public comments since being dismissed by coach Mike Krzyzewski. He did not specify what the reason was, though he said he was frustrated and could have handled the situation better.

“I have never sexually assaulted, not only anyone on the Duke campus, but anyone period,” he said. “It’s not in my nature at all. I have great respect for the role of women in society. I would never demean or do anything to a woman in this manner. No, I’ve never done anything like this in my life.”

Also discussed in the story was Sulaimon’s support of his former teammates during their run to the national title, as well as a phone call with his father following the title game in which the guard acknowledged that he “could have been a part of something that was bigger than me.” ESPN.com also reported that “more than a dozen” schools have reached out to Sulaimon this spring.

Arizona State, Baylor, Colorado, George Washington, Houston, LSU, Maryland, Memphis, Oklahoma State, Seton Hall, SMU, Texas, Texas Southern and Texas A&M are among the schools that reached out to Sulaimon according to the report. Still in school at Duke, Sulaimon expects to graduate in August and that would then mean immediate eligibility at his next school.

Ex-Oregon Duck Damyean Dotson expected to sign with Houston

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Damyean Dotson, one of the three former Oregon players that were dismissed from school after being accused of sexual assault, is expected to sign a letter of intent with Houston today.

“A lot of people don’t get a second chance,” Dotson told the Chronicle. “They say one chance comes in a lifetime. To have a second chance, I can’t mess this up.”

Dotson, along with ex-teammates Brandon Austin and Dominic Artis, were accused of sexually assaulting a female Oregon student in March of 2014. All three players involved said that the sex was consensual, and while no charges against the three held — Dotson was the only one of the three to actually get charged, but it was eventually dropped due to a lack of evidence — they were kicked out of school and banned from the Oregon campus for four years.

Dotson, a Houston native, returned home after he left Oregon, attending Houston Community College without playing basketball. He worked with John Lucas, according to the Chronicle, a former NBA player and drug addict that works with athletes that have drug, legal and emotional issues.

Dotson averaged 9.4 points as a sophomore and 11.2 points as a freshman for the Ducks. He should be eligible immediately at Houston and will have two seasons of eligibility remaining.

Austin, who has twice been accused of sexual assault, played this past season at Northwest Florida State, a JuCo powerhouse. Artis spent the past year at Diablo Valley Community College, near where he’s from in the Bay Area in California. He practiced with the team, although he didn’t play in any games.

Houston guard out for the season with injury

Ge'Lawn Guyn, L.J. Rose
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source: AP
(AP)

Houston took a hit to an already lost season on Monday as the school announced on Twitter that point guard L.J. Rose is out for the season. The 6-foot-4 junior will have surgery on his foot after re-injuring it in a loss to Cincinnati on Saturday.

Rose had previously missed time with injury to the same foot this fall and will again go through rehab before his senior season. Playing in 19 games after missing some contests early in the 2014-15 season, Rose averaged 9.8 points and a team-leading 5.8 assists per game on the season. But the junior never looked fully healthy and only shot 37 percent from the field and 29 percent from 3-point range.

The Cougars are 1-13 in the American in Kelvin Sampson’s first season as head coach and it’s been a tough stretch for them. Houston has a chance to see how they’ve improved since the last time they played without Rose early in the season.