Jan. 4, 2014
TAMPA, Fla. - University of Houston junior forward TaShawn Thomas did a little of everything to lead the Cougars to a 67-58 win over American Athletic Conference rival USF inside the Sun Dome on Saturday afternoon.
Thomas led the Cougars with 13 points and added four rebounds with five assists, six blocked shots, a career-high six steals and only one turnover in 35 minutes of action. With his rebounding total, he became just the 11th player in school history to record 1,100+ points AND 700+ rebounds during his collegiate career.
With the win, Houston improved to 10-5 overall and move to 2-0 in American play. It marked the first time since 2008-09 that the Cougars started 2-0 in league play. USF dropped to 9-6 overall and 0-2 in The American.
Winners against No. 17/15 UConn earlier this week inside Hofheinz Pavilion, the Cougars overcame an early deficit and built as much as a 14-point lead midway through the first half. Houston raced out to a 34-26 lead at halftime after limiting the Bulls to 32.4 percent shooting from the field and never trailed again.
In the second half, USF rallied to cut into the Cougars' lead but were unable to move closer than three points. Midway through the final 20 minutes, USF pulled to within 44-40 when Musa Abdul-Aleem drained a 3-pointer. However, the Cougars scored six of the game's next seven points from sophomore guard Jherrod Stiggers and redshirt freshman forward Danrad Knowles and never led by fewer than six points the rest of the way.
Playing without three starters for the third straight game, the Cougars saw four players post double-digit points. In addition to Thomas, Knowles and senior guard Tione Womack tallied 12 points apiece, while Stiggers finished with 11 points and three rebounds.
Martino Brock led USF with 11 points and added four rebounds and a pair of steals, while Chris Perry finished with 10 points and six assists. John Egubunu totaled nine points and nine rebounds, tying with Corey Allen, Jr., for the team lead on the boards.
Following Saturday's game, the Cougars return to Hofheinz Pavilion when they play host to Cincinnati at 8 p.m., Tuesday. Fans should note that Guy V. Lewis Night has been moved from the Cincinnati game and will be held prior to the Cougars' Feb. 5 contest against defending national champion Louisville.
From there, the team will take a break from its schedule before meeting No. 14/10 Louisville at 6 p.m. (CST)/7 p.m. (EST) Jan. 16, inside KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Ky.
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