HOUSTON - University of Houston forward Mikhail McLean posted a career-high 14 points to lead the Cougars to a 59-48 win against crosstown rival Rice on Wednesday evening inside Hofheinz Pavilion.
Coming off the bench, the Nassau, Bahamas, native sank seven of his nine attempts from the field and grabbed a pair of rebounds with two assists in 24 minutes. McLean, who is the lone senior on the 2014-15 team, topped his previous career high of 12 points against Marshall on March 2, 2013.
In a defensive battle, it was the Cougars who emerged on top. Battling its way to a 22-20 lead at halftime, Houston forced 15 Rice turnovers and converted those into 19 points to win their fourth straight game against the Owls. Wednesday's effort was the fewest points allowed by Houston since an 87-47 win over Grambling State on Nov. 17, 2012.
Houston used a 9-4 run to start the second half to build a 34-27 lead, but the Owls moved to within 34-30 when Max Guercy drained a 3-pointer with 12:28 remaining. However, that would be as close as Rice would get the rest of the way.
Junior guard Jherrod Stiggers answered with a 3-pointer of his own and was fouled on the next possession to ignite the crowd of 3,467. After the Stiggers free throw and a Marcus Jackson bucket from Rice, Stiggers buried another trey and McLean snared an offensive rebound and put it back up and in to give Houston a 43-32 lead midway through the second half.
In the final 84 seconds, the Cougars sealed the win going 5-of-6 from the free throw line with four of those from junior guard LeRon Barnes to keep the lead in double digits.
Barnes scored 13 points with six rebounds and a pair of steals. The Stonewall, La., native defended Jackson - Rice's leading scorer entering the game at 14.7 points per contest - all night and limited him to only seven points with one 3-pointer.
Sophomore forward Danrad Knowles continued his recent stellar play with 10 points and tied with junior forward Devonta Pollard for team-high honors with seven rebounds. Junior point guard L.J. Rose led the Cougars with seven assists and only one turnover in 35 minutes and chipped in with eight points.
Rice forward Seth Gearhart was the only Owl to reach double digits, scoring 14 points, while center Andrew Drone added a team-high seven rebounds.
The Cougars continue their four-game homestand when they meet defending national champion UConn at 2 p.m., Sunday, inside Hofheinz Pavilion. Fans will want to arrive early for Sunday's game with the first 700 fans in attendance receiving a free Coach Guy V. Lewis bobblehead.
Fans can hear Sunday's game live on KPRC 950 AM with Matt Thomas calling the action and Hall of Famer Elvin Hayes providing analysis. The pregame show begins at 1:45 p.m., Sunday.
Fans also can hear the radio broadcast online by visiting UHCougars.com and following the appropriate links to Houston All-Access or by clicking here. A Houston All-Access subscription is required to listen to the game online.
Fans can watch Sunday's game live on CBS Sports Network with Carter Blackburn calling the play-by-play, Pete Gillen providing analysis and Cassie Gallo reporting from the sidelines. Fans can find CBS Sports Network in their local listings by clicking here.
Fans can follow live stats by clicking the GameTracker link at UHCougars.com or by clicking here.
Following Sunday's game, the Cougars continue their homestand with home showdowns inside Hofheinz Pavilion against current undefeated league leader Tulsa (Feb. 5) and SMU (Feb. 12).
BUY TICKETS NOW
Fans have a variety of tickets options to accommodate any budget. Group tickets, mini-plans and single-game tickets also are on sale now. For complete tickets information, fans can visit uhcougars.com/mbbtickets and follow the appropriate links or by clicking here.
To purchase tickets, fans can call 713-GO-COOGS (462-6647) or visit the Athletics Ticket Office from 10 a.m., to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. To purchase tickets in person, fans can visit the Athletics Ticket Office located on the northeast corner of TDECU Stadium, just outside of Gate 1 off Cullen Boulevard. Parking is available in the TDECU Stadium parking garage with the first 30 minutes free of charge.
All UH main campus students are admitted FREE to regular-season Men's Basketball home games with a valid student ID.
Season ticket packages start for as low as $99 in the Reserved 3 section for 17 regular-season home games inside Hofheinz Pavilion. The Memorial Hermann Family Plan, which includes two adult and two kids' season tickets, can be purchased for only $399 in the Reserved 2 section for the entire regular-season home schedule.
Fans can purchase season tickets online by visiting uhcougars.com/mbbtickets and following the appropriate links or by clicking here. To view a map of Hofheinz Pavilion with season ticket pricing, fans can click here.
Fans also have a choice of a pair of mini plans when choosing their ticket options. With the Conference Pack, fans can purchase tickets to each of the Cougars' nine American Athletic Conference home games inside Hofheinz Pavilion, starting at only $8 per game in the Reserved 3 section.
Fans can choose the 3-Point Pack and pick any three of the Cougars' 17 regular-season home games with prices starting as low as $9 per game in the Reserved 3 section.
Tickets for groups of 10 or more can be purchased for as low as $9 per ticket in Reserved 3 (Section 101-102, 115-116, 126-128) for 17 regular-season home games inside Hofheinz Pavilion. Groups of 10 or more can buy tickets for only $14 per ticket in the Reserved 2 (Sections 103-104, 109-111, 117-119 and 124-125), while Reserved 3 seats (Section 105-108, 120-123) are available at $19 per ticket.
The ticket cost per person falls even more for groups of 25 or more. Group administrators are encouraged to call or visit the Athletics Ticket Office soon to secure their seats.
For a map of Hofheinz Pavilion group seating sections and prices, fans can click here. Fans can purchase group tickets online by visiting UHCougars.com and following the appropriate links or by clicking here, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Single-game tickets can be purchased for as low as $10 per game in the Reserved 3 section inside Hofheinz Pavilion. Fans can buy single-tickets in Reserved 2 for only $15 with tickets in Reserved 1 going for $20 per game.
Fans can receive the latest news and notes by following @UHCougarMBK on Twitter. Fans also can discuss the latest Houston Men's Basketball news and notes on the team's Facebook page by clicking LIKE at HoustonCougarMensHoops.