Jan. 1, 2010
SAN ANTONIO, Texas - Junior guard Zamal Nixon scored a career-high 29 points on 12-of-19 shooting but could not get his final shot to fall as the University of Houston men's basketball team dropped an 83-82 decision at UTSA at the Convocation Center on Friday afternoon.
UTSA grabbed the lead for good with 1:31 remaining when Omar Johnson nailed his lone 3-pointer of the game for an 81-79 lead. After a Cougar missed shot and rebound, Johnson was fouled with 53 seconds left and hit both free throws for an 83-79 lead.
The Cougars rallied and pulled to within 83-81 on Nixon's layup with 46 seconds to go. The Roadrunners took over on the next possession and worked the clock as far down as they could, but Devin Gibson was called for a shot clock violation with 10.6 seconds left, giving the Cougars the ball and a chance to win the game.
After the Cougars inbounded the ball and moved into the frontcourt, Nixon received a pass and raced down the left side of the lane, laying the ball up with two seconds left, but his shot was just off the mark and rolled off the side of the rim to give the Roadrunners the win.
The loss spoiled a valiant comeback for the Cougars, who trailed 63-51 when Gibson buried a 3-pointer at the 11:14 mark. The Roadrunners used an 18-2 rally during a 5:36 stretch for their biggest advantage of the contest.
However, just as UTSA appeared to seize control of the game, the Cougars erupted on a 17-2 run of their down during the next five minutes and grabbed a 68-65 advantage on sophomore guard Desmond Wade's layup with 6:13 remaining.
The game would go back and forth from there with neither team scoring more than four unanswered points the rest of the way. By the time it ended, the game featured 20 lead changes and 10 ties.
UTSA outrebounded the Cougars 52-25 in the game and connected on 24-of-27 attempts from the free throw line. The Cougars forced 22 UTSA turnovers and converted them into 29 points while recording only six turnovers as a team.
Nixon led all players with his point total, topping his previous best of 24 points against Arizona on Jan. 12, 2008.
Demarco Stepter led UTSA with 18 points and a game-high 11 rebounds for the first double-double of his career, while Johnson finished with 16 points. Morris Johnson IV recorded 12 points on four 3-pointers, while Gibson added 11 points.
With the loss, the Cougars dropped their second straight game and fell to 7-5. UTSA improved to 9-3.
The Cougars continues their brief road swing at 1 p.m., Sunday, against Big 12 Conference member Iowa State in Ames, Iowa.
The game can be heard live on SportsTalk 790 AM with Tom Franklin calling the play-by-play action. In addition, the game can be seen live on ESPN360.com, ESPN's signature broadband sports TV network.
ESPN360.com is free to all students who get their high-speed Internet access through the on-campus network, to anyone getting their high-speed Internet through one of ESPN's affiliated ISPs and to U.S.-based military personnel who access the Internet via on-base servers.
Fans can purchase basketball tickets on-line at UHCougars.com by clicking the Tickets link, by calling 713-GO-COOGS (462-6647) or by visiting the Athletics Ticket Office on the first floor of the Athletics/Alumni Center from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Single-game tickets and a variety of packages also are available now and can be purchased for as low as $35.
* Houston fell to 5-2 (.714) in the all-time series against UTSA... Houston dropped to 1-2 (.333) all-time against the Roadrunners in San Antonio, Texas.
* Head coach Tom Penders moved into sole possession of 16th place in NCAA Division I career history with 1,063 games coached... He broke out of a tie with Hugh Durham (Florida State, Georgia, Jacksonville, 1967-05) who recorded 1,062 games coached... Up next in the NCAA records book is Kentucky's Adolph Rupp, who coached 1,066 games from 1931-52 and 1954-72.
* With 14 points, senior guard Kelvin Lewis moved into 26th place in Houston career history with 1,142 points... Up next in the Houston records book is Don Boldebuck, who scored 1,162 points from 1954 to 1956.
* Senior guard Kelvin Lewis competed in his 75th consecutive game and made his 48th straight start... Both streaks are the longest among active Cougar players.