If college basketball was just a two-on-two competition, the Houston Cougars would be one of the best teams in the nation. Unfortunately, Houston has to field five players at a time, and the Cougars are 5-2 with no votes in the AP or Coaches Poll.
Aubrey Coleman and Kelvin Lewis are amazing fans at the Hofheinz Pavilion and are waiting for their teammates to join in on the fun.
Coleman is leading all of Division I in scoring with 26.7 points per game. Instead of stepping on opponents, he is dribbling around and shooting over them.
The 6'4'' senior guard is shooting 48 percent from the field and 43 percent from three-point range.
Showing that he is not just focusing on offense, Coleman tops Division I in steals with 3.7 per game and leads the Cougars in rebounds at seven per outing.
Lewis is averaging 17.9 points per game while shooting an amazing 53 percent from three-point range. Lewis' 4.14 made three-pointers per game ranks him third in Division I.
In the seven games the Cougars have played so far, Coleman has been the team's leading scorer five times, and it has been Lewis in the other two games.
A loss to San Diego represents the only occasion neither player scored at least 20 points in a game. Together, Coleman and Lewis represent 51.6 percent of the team's scoring output.
Although Houston has earned a win over a previously-ranked Oklahoma squad, the team needs to find others to help out its dynamic duo.
The most likely candidate is junior college transfer Adam Brown. Brown is averaging 13.7 per game and 12.8 in his four starts.
The problem with starting Brown with Coleman and Lewis is that the Cougars would have four starters no taller than 6'4'', assuming 5'8'' Desmond Wade runs the point.
Wade does a great job orchestrating the offense and dishing out assists but only scores 8.1 points per game.
Coach Tom Penders was hopeful that juco transfer Maurice McNeil would be a productive player in the post, but a 19.7 average at San Jacinto College has only translated into 5.3 points per game at Houston.
Freshman forward Kirk Van Slyke is shooting poorly and committing too many fouls to earn consistent playing time. Freshman forward Kendrick Washington has struggled to get back on the court after having surgery to repair stress fractures in both shins.
In the game against Troy, Penders gave extended playing time to both forward Kahmell Broughton and guard Nick Haywood.
The pair responded by scoring 10 and four points respectively. On the negative side, those point totals also represent the only points that either registered all season long.
Houston's dependence on the production of two players has affected the Cougars' success on the defensive end.
The Cougars are clearly not playing as a team defensively. The opponents are out-rebounding Houston by 10.6 per game, and the Cougars help defense has often been non-existent.
The Cougars can beat teams like Nicholls State and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi the way they are performing now.
However, in order to defeat Mississippi State and Conference USA teams like Tulsa, Memphis, UAB, and UTEP, the Cougars have to play at both ends of the court as one cohesive unit.
Two men scoring and the rest watching will only lead to disappointment and the Cougars playing in a post-season tournament they would rather not be participating in.
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