Facing their third ranked team of the season, the Houston Cougars came out swinging and in doing so, upset #21/22 Memphis by the score of 77-68 in front of 3,628 fans in Hofheinz Pavilion in Houston, Texas on Thursday evening, February 27, 2013.
The game was an extremely close match; with Houston leading by as much as nine with 14 seconds remaining in the game, while the Tigers were ahead by four at the 15:32 mark in the first half.
In the slug out match, the score was tied seven times and the lead changed 13 times.
TaShawn Thomas had one of the best game of his career; connecting for 16 points with seven rebounds and three blocked shots.
He connected on six-of-seven from the field and four-of-six from the free throw line.
The 21-year old forward from Killeen, Texas celebrated his birthday on the day of the game and commented about that very fact during the post-game press conference:
“This was the best birthday of my life in beating Memphis.”
With his Thursday evening performance, Thomas became the seventh player in Houston Cougars history to score 1,300 points and pull down 800 rebounds in his career.
However, outstanding performances were not limited to Thomas.
Danuel House was a scoring machine on the floor; sinking 19 points and shooting five-of eight from the field along with three from behind the arc.
He was six-of-nine from the foul line.
Head coach James Dickey commented on House’s success at the free throw line.
“We want to get the ball to Danuel late in the game. He can hit those free throws and they help us a great bit.”
Jherrod Stiggers contributed to Houston’s scoring effort; accounting for 14 point while pulling down four rebounds.
Starting guard L.J. Rose pulled down seven rebounds, all on defense, while making 10 assists and shooting five-of-six from the free throw line.
With the upset win, the Cougars will have little time to celebrate.
They board a plane on Friday morning; travelling to Philadelphia for an 8 p.m. match-up against Temple on Saturday, March 1.
Following the trip to the City of Brotherly Love, they will return to Houston for their final home game of the season against South Florida on Tuesday, March 4.
Houston will close out the regular season on the road against Central Florida on Friday, March 7.
With three games remaining, the Cougars are in sixth place in the American Athletic Conference.
The top six teams receive first-round byes at the conference tournament to be held at the FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tennessee on March 12-15.
Currently, Temple is 2-14 in conference play after losing to Louisville on Thursday evening.
South Florida is two places behind Houston in the standings with a 3-12 record, while Houston’s final regular season opponent, Central Florida, is 3-11 in conference play.