Jan. 24, 2009
TUCSON, Ariz. - Nic Wise's 3-pointer with 10 seconds remaining in regulation forced overtime and capped an improbable comeback as Arizona claimed a 96-90 win Saturday against the University of Houston men's basketball team in the McKale Center.
The Cougars led 87-78 with 43 seconds remaining in regulation after freshman point guard Desmond Wade connected on a pair of free throws. Arizona's Chase Budinger followed with a 3-pointer five seconds later and, after being fouled on the inbounds play, sophomore guard Zamal Nixon hit one of two free throws to give the Cougars an 88-81 lead with only 32 seconds left in the game.
Wise hit a layup with 27 seconds left to cut the Cougar lead to 88-83 and, following a UH turnover, Jordan Hill hit a jumper with 22 seconds remaining to pull the Wildcats to within 88-85.
After receiving the ball on the inbounds, Lewis was fouled with 19 seconds remaining and stepped to the line for a pair of free throw attempts. However, the Fort Worth native, who entered Saturday's game hitting more than 84 percent of his free throws, missed both shots to give the Wildcats a chance to tie the game.
The Wildcats raced down the floor and knotted the game at 88-88 when Wise buried a trey from the top of the key with 10 seconds left. The Cougars had one last chance to win the game in regulation, but Lewis' 3-point attempt and Wade's jumper following an offensive rebound were off the mark, putting most of the 13,802 fans in attendance on their feet.
In the overtime, Hill nailed a jumper and free throw after being fouled to give the Wildcats 91-88 advantage and the lead for good. The score remained that way until Jamelle Horne hit a free throw with 26 seconds remaining for a 92-88 Arizona lead.
Lewis hit a pair of free throws with nine seconds remaining in overtime to bring the Cougars to within 92-90, but Arizona's Kyle Fogg answered with a pair from the charity stripe only two seconds later to ice the win for the Wildcats. Hill connected on two free throw attempts in the final second for the final margin of victory.
With the loss, the Cougars fell to 12-5 overall, while Arizona improved to 12-8 overall.
The loss spoiled an impressive performance by Lewis, who scored a career-high 35 points with five 3-pointers and grabbed seven rebounds. It was his second 30-point performance in the last three games and boosted his team-leading scoring average to 20.6 points per game.
Senior center Marcus Cousin finished with 14 points and seven rebounds, while junior forward Qa'rraan Calhoun added 13 points and seven boards. Junior guard Aubrey Coleman finished with 14 points and seven rebounds but was forced to miss the final 10 minutes of the second half and all of the overtime period following a call by officials.
With 9:51 remaining in the game, Coleman collided with Budinger near mid-court and was immediately called for a charge. After a brief confrontation with Budinger, Coleman was whistled for a flagrant foul and ejected from the game when officials reviewed video and ruled that the Cougar guard intentionally kicked the Arizona player in the head.
Coleman entered Saturday's game as the Cougars' second leading scorer and rebounder with 18.4 points and 17.9 rebounds per game.
Hill led Arizona with 30 points and 17 rebounds, while Wise finished with 23 points. Budinger added 15 points and nine rebounds, while Fogg came off the bench to post 14 points for the Wildcats.
UP NEXT FOR HOUSTON
The Cougars return to action at 7 p.m. (CST), Wednesday, to play host to Conference USA rival UTEP inside Hofheinz Pavilion. UH enjoyed a 94-86 win over the Miners on Jan. 14 in El Paso, the program's first road win against UTEP.
Fans can hear the game live on 790 AM The Sports Animal with Tom Franklin calling the play-by-play action and Willis Wilson providing analysis. The pregame show is slated to begin 15 minutes before tip-off each day.
Fans also can follow live stats of the game by clicking the GameTracker link or watch the game's video stream at UHCougars.com.