Did Anyone Think the Coogs Would Knock Off the UAB Blazers?… I Didn’t Think So.
Tom Penders is not a basketball coach. He’s a decent recruiter and the butt of any kind of hair joke you can think of, but he is not a basketball coach. He makes no effort to teach his guys anything about the game; it looks as if he just rolls the ball out there and let’s them do whatever they want. A player whom I will not name told me that he makes them watch film directly after any loss but there are no signs that Penders uses this time to fix any of the problems with his squad. If there was ever a perfect example of the fact that he can’t coach, it was this game against UAB Head Coach Mike Davis.
Aubrey Coleman was hindered by a thigh injury that didn’t appear nearly as serious as whatever brain injury that causes him to have such horrific shot selection. I’ve oscilated between blaming him and Penders’ pathetic excuse for an offense but the blame has be shared evenly so Coleman is no longer off the hook. At least, Tommy No Clue actually pulled him for some awful shots but it doesn’t help much when the sub you throw in there is Adam Brown who plays about as intelligently as Penders coaches.
Penders substitutions didn’t work at all until he was forced to make a move because Desmond Wade got his 2nd foul and Zamal Nixon had to come in for him. Nixon played his best game of the year with 33 minutes, 15 points and 3 steals. Before Z came in, it was 22-7 UAB as Elijah Milsap, brother of Uath Jazz power forward Bob Sapp, and the UAB frontline crushed the UH bigs 10-2 on the boards. It got so bad that Penders resorted to Kirk ”Andy” Van Slyke and Kahmell Broughton in the paint but, aside from Van Slyke’s 5 points, things didn’t get much better until Kendrick Washington returned to the game.
Washington’s 265 lb frame was able to keep the Blazers off the boards and he and Nixon combined to lead a 16-2 run by the Coogs to get within one at 25-24. Washington even gave UH the lead with a strong layup but Dexter Fields drilled two big threes to get the lead back for UAB after 20:00.
34-33 UAB at the half.
Houston looked good out of the half because they always have to tease us and make us think they can actually pull off a big win. Aubrey Coleman was the ring-leader in this facade with a deep 3 to tie the game at 40. Maurice McNeil also saw no issues with furthering the fraud as he helped the lead to 4 at 46-42. But you know where it went from there.
Aubrey missed a pair of FTs to make the sure the 10-1 run by the Blazers wasn’t thwarted before it got the lead back in UAB’s favor by 5. The Coogs made just enough shots to keep my attention until the 7:00 mark but then they politely moved out of the way so UAB could take it home.
UH made Howard Crawford look like Jamal Crawford in the 2nd half. He had 0 points when the game went to halftime but came out with 20 because the Coogs wanted to see some good highlight dunks on ESPN. They continuously let him get dunk after dunk, I guess nobody told them they aren’t good enough to get on tv so ESPN wouldn’t be receiving any highlights of the game.
The defense was as bad as it’s been all year in the 5 minutes from 7:00 to 2:00 as the bulge swelled to 69-59 when Fields finished a fastbreak with a layup and foul. Trust me, the game was not nearly as close as the final score would imply. The last 7 minutes were owned by UAB and they were never really in danger of losing the game after they go the lead back at 50-49.
Kirk Van Slyke’s name, look and style of play make him seem like he should on All My Children rather than a D-1 basketball team. When I see him I think of the Old Spice commercial with the Man Who Your Man Could Smell Like. I think it could be remade for the Coogs by just changing the “man” to “forward.”
What I’m (unsuccessfully) trying to say is that the Coog forwards and bigs need to be a lot tougher and they need to play smarter and with more confidence. Yes, I know it was a stretch but try to keep up.
UH is almost always in a position to win the game and they, more often than not, find a way to lose in the clutch. That’s because the only guy on the team with heart and confidence, Aubrey Coleman, hasn’t had enough coaching to make good decisions when it matters and he’s 6’2″. The rest of the guys look apathetic at best and that’s why, when the heat gets turned up by the opponent, the Coogs fall apart.
So those “two tickets to the thing you love” are not going to become UH basketball tickets until that attitude changes.
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