|3-Point Field Goals||7-17||6-13|
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Southern Miss used a 15-3 run to open the second half on the way to an 85-73 win against the University of Houston men's basketball team on Wednesday inside Reed-Green Coliseum to open Conference USA play for both teams.
The Cougars used steady shooting throughout the game, hitting a season-high 56.5 percent in the game, including 61.5 percent (16-of-26) in the first half alone. However, the Golden Eagles connected on 64.0 percent in the second half and took advantage of 16 Cougar turnovers to score 25 points.
Trailing by four late in the first half, the Cougars closed out the opening period on a 14-8 run to take a 38-36 lead into the locker room at the break.
The Golden Eagles used 15 straight points from senior forward Gary Flowers to begin the second half and never led by fewer than seven points the rest of the way.
Sophomore forward Kirk Van Slyke almost single-handedly rallied the Cougars, hitting three consecutive 3-pointers late in the second half with his final trey of the night moving Houston to within 78-71 with 2:18 remaining in the game.
However, Southern Miss' R.L. Horton converted an old-fashioned 3-point play on the Golden Eagles' next possession to halt the Cougar rally.
Senior guard Adam Brown led the Cougars with 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including three 3-pointers. It was the San Antonio, Texas, native's team-leading fifth 20-point game of the season and the eighth of his career.
With the loss, the Cougars dropped to 8-6 overall and 0-1 in C-USA games. Southern Miss improved to 12-2 overall, 1-0 in league games.
Flowers led all players with 27 points on 10-of-15 shooting, including 17 points in the second half, and 10 rebounds. Maurice Bolden added 23 points, while Horton finished with 18 points and a team-high six assists.
The Cougars return to Hofheinz Pavilion to play host to No. 19/18 UCF at 4 p.m., Saturday, in Hofheinz Pavilion. The Knights will be the first ranked team the Cougars play in 2010-11.
Fans can hear all Cougar men's basketball games live on SportsTalk 790 AM KBME with Tom Franklin calling the play-by-play action and Cougar legend Elvin Hayes serving as analyst.
Cougar men's basketball tickets are available now. Fans can choose from a variety of different ticket packages that best suit their needs, including the Weekend Package (8 Saturday home games) and the Conference USA Package (8 C-USA home games).
Fans have several options when ordering their men's basketball tickets. They can visit the Athletics Ticket Office, located on the first floor of the Athletics/Alumni Center by the UH Fan Shop, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Fans also can call 713-GO-COOGS (462-6647) or click the Tickets tab at UHCougars.com to buy tickets today.
* The Cougars' field goal percentage topped their previous season high of 53.6 percent (30-of-56) against Alcorn State on Nov. 14.
* With seven 3-pointers, the Cougars recorded their 290th consecutive game with at least one trey.
* The Cougars fell to 25-25 all-time in conference openers... The Cougars fell to 4-11 overall in Conference USA openers.
* Wednesday's game was the second time the Cougars opened C-USA play against Southern Miss... The Cougars previously dropped an 82-76 decision in Hattiesburg, Miss., on Jan. 5, 2000.
* Wednesday's game was broadcast on CSS, the fourth of 11 regular-season televised games.
* Head coach James Dickey dropped to 1-1 all-time against Southern Miss.