Jan. 9, 2010
HOUSTON - Tulsa used hot shooting from the field and from the free throw line to take an 86-80 win against the University of Houston men's basketball team Saturday evening inside Hofheinz Pavilion in the Cougars' Conference USA home opener.
The Golden Hurricane connected on 67.5 percent (27-of-40) of its shots from the field and nailed 29-of-34 attempts from the free throw line to take the win. It was the best field goal percentage by any Cougar opponent this season.
Cougar senior guard Aubrey Coleman scored a game-high 25 points, including 14-of-15 from the charity stripe, and added five rebounds, five assists and a career-high-tying seven steals, but it would not be quite enough.
"I'm going to tell them how proud I was of them, their effort and their scrap," head coach Tom Penders said. "We made a major step toward being a contender. They showed that even though they shot 37 percent, they could hang in and have a chance to win."
With the loss, the Cougars fell to 8-7 overall and 1-1 in C-USA games. Tulsa improved to 12-3 overall and 2-0 in C-USA games.
The Cougars used an 8-0 run to close out the second half and trim the Tulsa lead to 41-39 at the break. In the second half, the game went back and forth before the Golden Hurricane eventually built a 77-66 lead on Ben Uzoh's jumper with 5:31 remaining.
But the Cougars had one last rally in them, scoring the next eight points during the next 2:27 and pulled to within 77-74 on a Maurice McNeil free throw with 3:04 to go. After a dunk from C-USA Preseason Player of the Year and Tulsa center Jerome Jordan, sophomore point guard Desmond Wade nailed his lone 3-pointer to pull the Cougars to within 79-77 with 2:15 left.
Jordan answered with another layup to give the Golden Hurricane an 81-77 lead, but a Coleman 3-pointer at the top of the key brought the Cougars to within 81-80 and brought most of the 3,115 fans in attendance to their feat only 82 seconds remaining.
On the ensuing possession, Jordan was fouled in the post and converted both of his free throws to give Tulsa an 83-80 lead. Coleman missed a 3-pointer at the top of the key on the Cougars' next possession, and Tulsa's Bishop Wheatley was fouled with 31 seconds to go, hitting both attempts for an 85-80 lead.
Justin Hurtt converted Tulsa's final free throw with 19 seconds to go for the final margin of victory.
Ben Uzoh led Tulsa with 21 points on 5-of-8 shooting, including 11-of-11 from the free throw line, while Justin Hurtt added 20 points, including a game-high three 3-pointers. Jordan added 19 points in the win.
The Cougars wrap up their brief home stand at 7 p.m., Wednesday, when they play host to C-USA rival UTEP inside Hofheinz Pavilion.
Fans can hear Wednesday's game live on SportsTalk 790 AM with Tom Franklin calling the play-by-play action for both games. The pregame show is slated to begin at 6:45 p.m., Wednesday.
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 19-19 in the all-time series against Tulsa... The Cougars also dropped to 11-7 against Tulsa in Houston.
* Head coach Tom Penders moved into a tie for 15th place with Adolph Rupp (Kentucky, 1931-52, 54-72) with 1,066 career games coached... Up next in the NCAA records book is Don Haskins, who coached 1,072 games at UTEP from 1962 to 1999.
* Senior guard Aubrey Coleman needs only two points in Wednesday's game at UTEP to become the 43rd member of Houston's 1,000-Point Club during his career.
* Senior guard Aubrey Coleman recorded his 12th 20-point game of the 2009-10 season and the 28th of his career.
* Senior guard Kelvin Lewis competed in his 78th consecutive game and made his 51st straight start... Both streaks are the longest among active Cougar players.