by RENALDO DORSETT

Often heralded for his exploits in the in the classroom and in the community, Mikhail McLean proved he can get the job done on the court as well as he led the Houston Cougars in ending their eight game losing streak.

The senior forward finished with a career high 14 points in the Cougars’ a 59-48 win against crosstown rival Rice on Wednesday night at home in Hofheinz Pavilion.

McLean shot 7-9 from the field in a season high 24 minutes, and also added two rebounds, two assists and a blocked shot.

“I just played in the flow of the offense,” he sad, “I decided to be more aggressive for once, and it paid off.”

Cougars head coach Kelvin Sampson said it was a deserving performance for the Cougars’ lone senior on the roster, and a player who has been named  to the American Athletic Conference All-Academic Team won the Conference USA Winter Spirit of Service Award for community service.

“We never know when and who is going to make a shot. That’s just the way our team’s built. Mikhail’s aggressiveness: he took nine shots. I didn’t see Mikhail take nine shots in practice the whole year. I’m being facetious,” he said, “It’s really what makes coaching special. You talk about genuine, unbelievable integrity and character. Sometimes when the chips are down it’s the good guys, it’s the guys that live their life the right way and practice hard every day, they get rewarded.”

It has also been a productive month of January for fellow Cougar and Bahamian Danrad Knowles despite the fact that his team remains winless in the American Athletic Conference.

Knowles is averaging 14.7 and 5.2 rebounds per game for the month of January, including a career high 31 points against Tulane. 

He finished with 10 points and seven rebounds in the win over Rice.

The third in the Bahamian trio for the Cougars, LJ Rose, has recovered from early season injury concerns to average 9.2 points and 5.7 assists per game.

He finished with eight points and seven assist against Rice, just a game after he recorded his first double digit assist game of the year with 10 in a loss at SMU.

Rose, McLean, Knowles

Rose, McLean, Knowles

Curtis Moves to Starting Lineup

Since the Coastal Carolina coaching staff made the move to shift Tristian Curtis to the starting lineup, the level of productivity has increased for the Bahamian native and wins have increased for the Chanticleers.

Curtis pulled down a season high ten rebounds and scored six points on 3-6 shooting in the Chanticleers’ 63-52 win over the Presbyterian Blue Horse last weekend.

Fueled by a plus-22 rebounding margin and stifling defence Coastal Carolina weathered a slow start to claim a 63-52 victory over Presbyterian College in Big South men’s basketball action Saturday afternoon.

The Chanticleers were in desperate need for a win after dropping consecutive games for the first time all season, and were powered by Curtis and the remainder of the frontcourt. 

Tristian Curtis

Tristian Curtis

They out rebounded the Blue Horse by 22 rebounds, and its defence limited its opponents down the stretch in the second half.

The Chanticleers shot just 7-30 in the first half, but used that advantage on the boards to stay ahead when they converted 14 offensive rebounds into nine second-chance points.

He finished with four points and seven rebounds in the Chanticleers 75-68 loss to Winthrop in a rematch of the 2014 Big South Tournament championship game.

They improved to 15-5, 6-2 in Big South conference play.

Curtis has started 14 games this season, and has averaged 5.2 points and 5.6 rebounds.

Since being inserted into the starting lineup, he has scored eight points at least six points and grabbed eight rebounds at least five times.

In an interview with Ryan Young of the Sun News, Curtis said he looks to take advantage of this opportunity after his first two seasons where he played sparingly and averaged 2.4 points and three rebounds per game.

“It’s just a blessing from God, that’s what I believe,” Curtis said, “It was a lot of hard work, a lot of patience over my last two years, and finally my hard work comes to fruition so I’m just real thankful to God and thankful to the coaches for believing in me.”

Coleby Continues His Production

In the SEC, Dwight Coleby continues his stellar play for the Ole Miss Rebels.

Coleby finished with 10 points, six rebounds and a career high four blocked shots in the Rebels’ thrilling 72-71 win over the Florida Gators Saturday afternoon.

Coleby was one of four Ole Miss players to finish in double figures and helped spark the Rebels to  a much needed win as they have alternated wins and losses since conference play began January 6.

Coleby shot 5-8 from the field in 28 minutes on the floor.

With the win they improved to 12-7, 3-3 in SEC play. 

Dwight Coleby

Dwight Coleby

Ole Miss trailed for much of the night, but rallied from a 69-65 deficit with a little more than two minutes remaining.

On the season, the 6’9” forward is averaging 6.4 points and five rebounds per game but has been a force for the Rebels since the calendar flipped to 2015.

In January, he has averaged eight points and 6.3 rebounds per game including scoring in double figures four times.

Just over a week ago, Coleby finished with the best game of his collegiate career, a double double – 12 points and 10 rebounds – in the Rebels’ 96-82 win over no. 19 Arkansas. 

He shot 62 per cent from the field (5-8) and was perfect in his only trip to the line.

He has seen his numbers increase across the board since his freshman season when he averaged 2.3 points and 1.8 rebounds, shot 47 per cent from the field in 10 minutes per game.

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