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by: Kris Gardner, United States Basketball Writers Association member. Credentialed media member since 1997. USBWA approved online journalist. Voter of Katrina McClain, Naismith, USBWA, and Wooden awards.

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A few observations from Coogs' 89-60 exhibition game win over DBU

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November 2, 2018 -- 8:56 a.m. CDT

Thursday night, the Houston Cougars defeated the Dallas Baptist Patriots 89-60 in an exhibition game. The game was scattered at times -- both teams began the game 0 for 4 from the three-point line; however, as an exhibition game, the game provided a learning experience for the Coogs' newcomers.

Here are a few of my observations from watching the game:

The Coogs are talented. And versatile. Just like last season's team, the strength of the squad is the backcourt.

In Thursday's game, Armoni Brooks, Corey Davis Jr., and Galen Robinson Jr. started. Freshman Nate Hinton and redshirt-sophomore DeJon Jarreau came off the bench.

Jarreau at the back up point guard spot gives the Coogs height and length at that position. Jarreau, 6'5", 185 (he sure is slim), has long arms and seems to have solid ball-handling skills to breakdown defenses and, either finish at the rim, or dish to open teammates. Jarreau finished the game with 9 assists in nearly 24 minutes; however, he also had five turnovers. At times, he was playing too fast.

It's just one exhibition game; but, Jarreau talks on the floor. Jarreau and his best friend, big man Brison Gresham, obviously, have a connection. Gresham, 6'8", 225 spoke to Jarreau constantly on defense: "pick right"; "pick left"; "By yourself, D".

Jarreau communicates with his teammates on offense and defense. Good communication is important. Players need to know what's going on while they're on the court.

Gresham produced 8 points and 4 rebounds (0 for 2 free throws) in 20 minutes, 42 seconds.

Corey Davis Jr scored a game-high 27 points; and, he seems to have his three-point shooting form be ready for the season. Davis Jr drained 9 three-point shots in thirteen points. Oddly enough, he airballed one three-point shot; but, as good shooters do, he drained his next attempt as if the airball never happened.

The Coogs are a work in progress on defense -- especially when Galen Robinson Jr is on the bench.

Late in the first half, Dallas Baptist's Conner Lidiak made three consecutive three-point shots during his personal 11-0 scoring burst. The Coogs were not on the same page defensively which left Lidiak wide open on each three-point shot.

Coogs' Head Coach Kelvin Sampson called three 30-second times-out in 90 seconds to speak to his team about how to defend the play. Sampson rotated different players on the court to see which player(s) could defend the play correctly.

Teaching moments.

Redshirt-freshman Cedrick Alley Jr should provide the Coogs another versatile option. Ced did not play well in the first half: 0 for 2 from the floor and 4 rebounds. However, he scored 12 points and pulled down 6 rebounds in the second half. Alley Jr made 3 of his 4 field goals in the second half, including 2 for 3 from three; and, he was 4 for 4 from the foul line.

After the game, Alley Jr admitted he was nervous in the first half.

In addition to Alley Jr's double-double and Davis Jr's 27 points, Armoni Brooks scored 11 points and grabbed 10 boards for a double-double. Brooks only made 1 of his 8 three-point shot attempts; but, he helped his team in other ways by crashing the boards.

This year's team is a work in progress; but, the talent is here.

"I think this team is probably ahead of where last year's team was at this time; but, this team has so far to go," Coach Sampson said.

"There's so many new guys," Sampson added. "They are good players, they are talented and going to help us get better. For now, we have to take baby steps and be patient."

Houston will begin the 2018-'19 regular season against Alabama A&M in the Men Against Breast Cancer Cougar Cup Saturday, November 10, inside H&PE Arena on the Texas Southern campus.

Game time will be finalized after the Houston Football game against American Athletic Conference rival Temple is set on November 4.

CLICK HERE for news and info about the Coogs' men's basketball team.

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