Jan. 10, 2009
HOUSTON - Junior guard Aubrey Coleman scored 25 points in the second half to lead the University of Houston men's basketball team to a 75-56 win over Conference USA-rival UAB on Saturday inside Hofheinz Pavilion.
After missing both of his shots in 12 minutes of action during the first half, the Houston native burst out of the locker room to hit 11-of-18 shots, including his first 3-pointer of the season, while playing all 20 minutes in the final period.
Coleman was part of an all-around effort by the Cougars. Junior guard Kelvin Lewis finished with 19 points, including 14 in the first half, and drilled a pair of 3-pointers. Senior center Marcus Cousin scored 12 points and grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds for his team-leading fifth double-double of the season.
As solid as the offense was, the Cougar defense was equally impressive. The Blazers connected on only one of 16 attempts from the 3-point line and did not hit their lone trey until the 11:21 mark of the second half.
At 6.3 percent, the Blazers' 3-point shooting was a season low by any Cougar opponent, topping the 14.3 percent recorded by Texas A&M-Corpus Christi earlier this week.
Entering Saturday's game, the Blazers' top three scorers of 2008-09 C-USA Preseason Player of the Year Robert Vaden, Lawrence Kinnard and Paul Delaney III had combined to score 58.2 points per game. The Cougar defense limited the formidable trio to a combined 28 points with Kinnard and Vaden scoring 10 points apiece.
With the win, the Cougars improved to 10-3 overall and 1-0 in C-USA play. The Cougars also more than doubled their biggest previous win over the Blazers dating back to the 2001-02 and won their conference opener for the second straight season, a feat that had not been accomplished since 1984-85.
UAB fell to 9-6 overall and 0-1 in C-USA games.
After taking a 35-25 lead into the locker room at halftime, the Blazers battled back to cut the deficit to 47-41 on Vaden's 3-pointer. However, that would be as close as UAB would get the rest of the way.
The Cougars jumped out on a 21-3 run over the next seven minutes to seal the win. Coleman led the way with 10 points during that rally.
In the first half, the two teams battled back and forth with the lead changing hands eight times. The Blazers grabbed a 16-13 lead - their largest of the first half - on Robert Vaden's jumper with 10:05 remaining.
However, the Cougars took off on a 20-3 run over the next 7:26 to build a 33-19 advantage. Lewis led the way with 10 of his 14 first-half points coming during that stretch.
UP NEXT FOR HOUSTON
The Cougars return to action at 8:05 p.m. (CST)/7:05 p.m. (MST) Wednesday when they meet Conference USA rival UTEP in the Don Haskins Center in El Paso.
That will be the first of two road games for the Cougars next week. Following Wednesday's game, the team will meet C-USA rival Southern Miss at 4 p.m., Saturday, in Hattiesburg, Miss.
Fans can hear both games live on 790 AM The Sports Animal with Tom Franklin calling the play-by-play action. The pregame show is slated to begin 15 minutes before tip-off each day.
Fans can follow live stats of both games by clicking the GameTracker link at UHCougars.com.