After bouncing back again after sustaining a loss on the court, No. 22 Houston may have to overcome a significant loss off the court when it travels to Memphis to play the Tigers on Saturday.
The status of guard Quentin Grimes is in question after he was forced to leave Wednesday’s game against Tulsa with 11:12 remaining in the first half. He limped to the locker room and did not return in the Cougars’ 76-43 win. He is Houston’s second-leading scorer at 11.8 points per game.
“I do know that it is on his pelvis,” Houston coach Kelvin Sampson told reporters of Grimes’ injury. “The ball, the covering that goes over the top of it. He fell on top of that and hurt himself. I don’t have any other update.”
The Cougars, who avenged a loss earlier this season at Tulsa, rebounded after coming off a 73-72 loss in overtime at SMU on Saturday. They are 6-0 this season after a loss and 16-0 after a loss over the last three seasons.
Houston (21-6, 11-3 American Athletic Conference) moved into sole possession of first place in the league with the win over Tulsa and Cincinnati’s loss to Central Florida on Wednesday.
Caleb Mills broke out of a shooting slump to lead Houston over Tulsa. Mills, a redshirt freshman, had scored 10 points combined over his previous two games on 3-of-21 shooting, including 0-for-8 on 3-pointers.
He scored 22 of his 27 points in the second half against Tulsa. He made 9 of 16 shots from the field, including five 3-pointers.
“I came into the game, and I didn’t want to settle for 3s because it’s been off,” said Mills, who leads the Cougars averaging 12.9 points per game. “I started getting my shots, and it started coming to me.”
Sampson described Mills’ recent slump as a “freshman hitting a wall.”
“They haven’t played basketball this long, this intense, this many games,” Sampson reasoned. “The youngster over here (Mills) was hitting that wall a little bit. He struggled here lately. I told him at shootaround, he needed to start mixing some makes with his misses.”
Memphis (18-8, 7-6) snapped a three-game losing streak in a 77-73 win over East Carolina on Wednesday. Precious Achiuwa, the rebounding leader among freshmen in the nation averaging 10.3 per game, achieved his 15th double-double of the season with 24 points and 12 rebounds.
Fellow freshman Boogie Ellis had 17 points behind four 3-pointers. Ellis is averaging 13.5 points in his past eight games after going through a six-game stretch in which scored only 13 points.
“Definitely very happy to get a win,” said Tigers coach Penny Hardaway. “As long as we get a win, by any means necessary, it doesn’t matter if it’s by one (point) or by 30.
“I would have loved to have come out and had a 20- to 25-point win and made a statement after losing three in a row, but just getting a win is statement enough.”
This is the first game between the schools this season. They will play again at Houston on March 8 in the regular-season finale.
–Field Level Media