The Houston Cougars jumped out to seven point lead at the end of the first half and came back like a team possessed with five players scoring in double figures to down the Rutgers Scarlet Knights by the score of 77-55 in front of 3,115 fans at Hofheinz Pavilion in Houston on Sunday, January 19, 2014.
The Cougars were never seriously challenged in the second half, outscoring the Scarlet Knights 42-27 in the final 20 minutes.
Danrad Knowles scored 16 points in his first start as a Cougar.
He was 6-of-8 from the floor and 3-of-3 from the line in addition to snatching eight rebounds.
Danuel House, who returned to the Cougars’ lineup after knee surgery, scored 14 points and pulled down six defensive rebounds in 27 minutes of play.
The game was in stark contrast to three days earlier, when the Cougars faced the defending national champion Louisville Cardinals, and came away with a 91- 52 loss.
The bench was the difference in the game against Rutgers, with Houston scoring 35 points off the bench while Rutgers could manage only 15.
When questioned about the fact that the Cougars looked like they were having fun on the court, sophomore guard Danuel House commented:
“The coaches talked to us and we talked to each other that it is not fun if you are not winning and what the coaches and the players came together to do was we found a way where we could play team basketball where everyone is happy, everyone is having fun, share the ball and play defense and win basketball games and that is the most important thing.”
Head coach James Dickey was pleased with the outcome of the game, but after the loss to Louisville on national television, he was asked if they did anything different to prepare for the game against Rutgers.
“No, we talked about the reality. We got it handed to us. They played great. We didn’t play very well. That's embarrassing to play like that in a conference game on national TV. Our guys realized that, and they know they’re better than that. We talked about our approach mentally and physically. Get yourself to whatever the level to be ready to play, you have to be there. Our guys did a really good job preparing. We didn’t do anything special. Our guys coaches did a marvelous job spending time with the guys as a team and individually.”
With the win, the Cougars are now 11-7 for the season and 3-2 in conference play; tied in third place with SMU and Memphis.
Both games will be broadcast on television on the ESPN News channel and on the radio at 950 AM KPRC.