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Houston Cougars Rally in Overtime Victory Over Texas A&M in Sweet 16 Clash

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The Houston Cougars, led by Coach Kelvin Sampson, entered Sunday’s showdown against Texas A&M with the knowledge that a tough battle awaited them on the court.

From the opening moments of the game, it was evident to Sampson that his team would need to dig deep to overcome a resilient Aggies squad.

At halftime, with the game finely poised, Sampson drew upon the memory of former Cougar Reggie Chaney, who tragically passed away from fentanyl toxicity in August 2023, invoking his fighting spirit to inspire his players.

Recalling Sampson’s halftime speech, Houston star guard Jamal Shead revealed that the coach asked the team, ‘What would 32 do? Reggie Chaney would have fought his (expletive) off.’

Despite the Cougars’ second-half resilience, the Aggies matched and even exceeded their intensity, staging a remarkable comeback to force the game into overtime with a buzzer-beating three-pointer by Andersson Garcia.

In overtime, Houston found the strength to persevere, clinching a hard-fought 100-95 victory over Texas A&M.

Reflecting on the emotional halftime tribute to Chaney, Sampson remarked, ‘I asked them about Reggie, and as soon as I said it, out of the corner of my eye I saw Jamal got really emotional.’

Ryan Elvin, a walk-on player for Houston, emerged as an unlikely hero in overtime, sinking a crucial free throw that proved pivotal in securing the win for the Cougars.

Elvin, who had been a teammate of Chaney for three seasons, emphasized the team’s deep bond and shared purpose, stating, ‘We play every game for Reggie.’

With a heartfelt dedication to their fallen teammate, Houston now looks ahead to a Sweet 16 matchup against Duke in Dallas this week, eager to continue their tournament journey in honor of Chaney’s memory.

For more sports coverage, reach out to Jason Munz at [email protected] or follow him on the X app, formerly known as Twitter.

Rachel Adams

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