UH basketball team heads back home after AAC Tournament canceled

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The coronavirus has impacted sports with the suspension of the NBA season, and now more locally, as the University of Houston basketball team was headed to the AAC tournament.

AAC Commissioner Mike Aresco announced Thursday morning the cancellation of the 2020 Air Force Reserve Men's Basketball Championship.

Before news of the cancellation, it was decided that the tournament games would have been played without fans in the stands.

"Playing a college basketball game without fans is kind of like bland food without salt and pepper, it just ain't the same," said head coach Kelvin Sampson.

The team left campus Thursday morning without a pep rally. The No. 22 ranked Cougars are scheduled for tip-off Friday night in Fort Worth at the Dickies Arena against the winner of the SMU and Temple match up on Thursday.

"I respect the precautions everybody is taking, but we just got to go out there and hoop," said guard Nate Hinton.

The team received 125 tickets for each upcoming AAC tournament game.

Only family members and a few staff members will be allowed. The players themselves will not be able to watch other games in arena.

"Not able to have fans is, you know is sad, but you know we are talking about health issues here, and if we can do this to help mitigate whatever damage there could be, then we do what we are told. We play the games and we move on," said Sampson.

If the team makes it to March Madness, they will also play in empty arenas.

Follow Jeff Ehling on Facebook and Twitter.

SEE ALSO: NBA suspends season until further notice after Utah Jazz player tests positive for COVID-19



Map of COVID-19 cases across the US, updated as confirmed by CDC
Copyright © 2020 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.