UH Cougars men's basketball defies doubters to seize control of Big 12 title chase

Greg Bailey Image
Wednesday, February 21, 2024
UH defies doubters to seize control of Big 12 title chase
The University of Houston Cougars men's basketball team seized control of first place in the Big 12 during its remarkable debut season.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The University of Houston's first season in the Big 12 wasn't supposed to look like this.

Just over a year ago, now-former West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins told the Field of 68 podcast that the Big 12's four newest teams were in for a rude welcome.

"I feel sorry for them. They have absolutely no idea what they're getting into," Huggins said.

It turns out the other teams in the Big 12 were in for a shock.

After Monday night's win over sixth-ranked Iowa State, No. 2 UH has seized sole possession of first place in the best basketball conference in America. The Cougars have five games left on their regular season schedule to lock down their first Big 12 title, along with a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Jamal Shead keyed the Cougars' latest marquee win with 26 points and six assists. At one point in the second half of a tight game, Shead scored 10 straight points for the Cougars. Afterward, Kelvin Sampson called his senior "the best point guard in the nation."

Iowa State head coach T.J. Otzelberger added much more.

"Offensively, he makes everything go for them. Defensively, he sets the tone for their defense. He commands the game. He's got tremendous character. His competitive spirit, you can feel - he's a winner," Otzelberger said.

Shead and the Cougars travel to Waco to face nationally-ranked Baylor on Saturday.

Remaining UH schedule

  • Feb. 24: at Baylor
  • Feb. 27: Cincinnati
  • March 2: at Oklahoma, airs on ESPN2
  • March 6: at UCF
  • March 9: Kansas, airs on ESPN

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