Preview: Temple at Houston
No. 13 Houston would love to avenge the lone blemish on its record Thursday when it hosts Temple in American Athletic Conference action. The Cougars’ only defeat came earlier this month against the Owls, who now are trying to avoid losing for the third time in four games.
In the first matchup on Jan. 9, Temple held Houston below 40 percent shooting and converted a crisp 25-of-28 foul shots to hold off the Cougars 73-69. Quinton Rose and Nate Pierre-Louis combined for 40 points, while Houston’s four starters, aside from Breaon Brady, shot a combined 9-of-33 from the field. Houston has since won five in a row – all by at least nine – allowing more than 65 points only once in that stretch. Temple, meanwhile, is 3-2 since its win over the Cougars and blew a 14-point second-half lead against Cincinnati in losing 72-68 its last time out.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2
ABOUT TEMPLE (15-5, 5-2 American): Leading scorer Shizz Alston Jr. (18.5) has really struggled with his shooting in January, and the first game against Houston was perhaps his worst of the month (3-of-15 for 12 points). Rose (17.1 points) has picked up the slack of late and is 7-of-13 from 3-point range in the last two games after opening the season 15-of-77 from beyond the arc. Pierre-Louis (14.0) is seeking his 10th straight game with double-digit points, although he shot a season-low 25 percent (3-of-12) in the defeat to Cincinnati.
ABOUT HOUSTON (20-1, 7-1): The Cougars have two double-digit scorers on the season – Armoni Brooks and Corey Davis Jr. – who combine to average nearly 30 points per game with 133 made 3-pointers between them. Brooks (14.8 points) was 2-of-12 from the field in the first Temple game and managed only five points in 33 minutes. Davis (14.6 points) has scored more than 12 only twice in the last seven outings, including an 11-point effort against Temple on 4-of-11 shooting and an even rougher line (five points on 2-of-14 shooting) in the team’s most recent game – a 77-65 win over Tulsa.
1. Six of Houston’s top eight scorers shoot at least 72 percent from the foul line.
2. Alston has attempted at least five 3-pointers in every game since the season opener.
3. Pierre-Louis had one turnover versus Cincinnati after recording at least three in six straight games.