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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Houston’s poor shooting performance made worse by other issues

    They took the paint off the rim.

    Houston shot 31.2 percent from the field (24-of-77) in its loss at Arizona Sunday.

    “”We just came up empty,”” UH head coach Tom Penders said. “”We’ve got to hit open shots. The game is not that complex.””

    With Arizona playing mostly zone defense, Houston shot 41 3-pointers, converting only 12 of them (29.3 percent).

    UH guard Robert McKiver ranks sixth among national scoring leaders with 24.3 points per game, but “”Fluff,”” as his teammates and coaches call him, produced just a little more than fluff, gathering 13 points in 30 minutes.

    He shot just better than his team as a whole, shooting 31.25 percent from the field (5-of-16) and only sinking two of 10 treys.

    McKiver was also stuffed twice by UA forwards in the key, once by Ivan Radenovic in the first half and another time by Chase Budinger in the second.

    If the Cougars had a better defensive performance, more open shots would have been created, guard Lanny Smith said.

    If that is so, McKiver is ruining chances for himself.

    As of late, Penders said he has not been pleased with McKiver’s defense, leading the coach to sit him at game’s start against the Wildcats.

    “”Until Fluff realizes you have to play defense, we’re not starting him,”” Penders said. “”It’s that simple. It’s not a disciplinary thing. It’s just a message.””

    Smith, a “”much better defensive player,”” according to Penders, started in the place of McKiver.

    But the substitution may not have been totally beneficial for the Cougars.

    Smith collected 12 points, with one board and a steal, and like McKiver – who asked to be benched for a couple of minutes to have his sprained foot re-wrapped seven minutes into the second half – came into the game nursing a sore foot.

    To add salt to the would, the team chemistry seemed to be missing for Houston as well, as there were several instances of heated bickering on the court in between plays, not to mention loud cursing amongst each other in the corridor of McKale after the game.

    “”Not to make any excuses,”” Smith said, “”but (Sunday), that’s the first time that lineup has been out there together. We’ve got the tools, we have talent, we just have to put it all together and get over that hump.””

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