Feb. 2, 2013
DALLAS - Trailing by as many as 19, the University of Houston Men's Basketball program overcame a 17-point halftime deficit and then a buzzer-beating, game-tying 3-pointer to take an 84-80 win in overtime against Conference USA-rival SMU on Saturday afternoon inside Moody Coliseum.
Slowly chipping away at the lead, the Cougars had to basically play perfectly down the stretch... and the team did. In the final 6:08 of regulation and the extra period, Houston drained 10 of their final 11 attempts from the field. In addition, the Cougars buried all nine of their free throw attempts in the last seven minutes of regulation and 6-of-9 in overtime.
Scoring only 18 points in the entire first half, the Cougars equaled that point total just seven minutes into the second half. The Cougars connected on a staggering 69.6 percent (16-of-23) from the field and drained all but one free throw attempt in the final 20 minutes and converted all three attempts from the field in overtime.
Houston's hot shooting wasn't limited to the field. In the final seven minutes of regulation and overtime, the Cougars drained all nine tries from the free throw line to win their second overtime game of the season and sweep the regular-season series against the Mustangs.
With the win, the Cougars improved to 14-7 overall and 3-5 in Conference USA play. SMU dropped to 12-11 this season and 2-6 in league action. The Cougars also swept the regular-season series against the Mustangs and moved to 2-1 in overtime contests this season.
It was the biggest comeback win for the Cougars since the program overcame a 22-point margin in an overtime home win against UCF during the 2006-07 season.
The Mustangs appeared to seize the momentum late in regulation and heading into overtime. Houston grabbed a 69-65 lead in regulation with only 15 seconds left when sophomore guard Joseph Young buried a jumper. On the ensuing possession, SMU center Cannen Cunningham stunned Houston with a 3-pointer to pull the Mustangs to within 69-68 with only six ticks left on the clock.
Young was fouled again on the inbounds and again buried both free throw attempts with just a little more than two seconds remaining in regulation. The Houston native and Yates High product drained both attempts, forcing the Mustangs to go the length of the court to tie the game.
After a deep pass into the Houston backcourt, SMU guard Jalen Jones tossed the ball to Shawn Williams, who nailed a game-tying 3-pointer at the buzzer to send most of the 3,886 fans in attendance into hysteria.
If the SMU fans thought the Cougars would wilt under that surprising turn of developments, they would quickly learn. Redshirt freshman guard Jherrod Stiggers drained a 3-pointer on the Cougars' first possession of the extra period and then forced a turnover and converted an old-fashioned 3-point play for a 77-71 Houston lead just one minute into overtime.
SMU rallied and moved to within 77-76 following a Houston turnover and dunk from Jones, but the Cougars answered when sophomore forward TaShawn Thomas hit 1-of-2 free throws and converted a jumper for an 80-76 lead with just 69 seconds to go.
The two teams traded single free throws over the next 13 seconds. SMU's Nick Russell drained a 3-pointer with just 23 seconds remaining in regulation for an 81-80 Houston lead, but that would be as close as the Mustangs would get the rest of the way.
Sophomore point guard J.J. Thompson converted 1-of-2 free throw attempts for an 82-80 Houston lead with 20 seconds left. SMU quickly worked the ball up the court, but sophomore forward Mikhail McLean forced a turnover on an SMU pass and fed the ball to Young, who was quickly fouled with 5 seconds left. Young connected on both attempts, and SMU failed to get a shot off on their final possession for the final margin of victory.
Five players, including four starters, reached double digits for the Cougars, led by Young's 17 points. Young also added a team-high six assists with two treys and only one turnover in 42 minutes. Stiggers came off the bench to pour in 16 points, including a game-high four treys, while Thomas added 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field.
Sophomore point guard J.J. Thompson scored 13 second-half points, while freshman forward Danuel House added 10 points and five rebounds. Junior point guard Tione Womack led the Cougars with a career-high six rebounds
Russell led SMU with 22 points, while Jones added 21 points and a game-high eight rebounds. Ryan Manuel finished with 15 points, thanks to a 9-of-12 effort from the free throw line, and Shawn Williams added 13 points, including four 3-pointers.
Things did not look well for the Cougars in the first half as SMU built a 35-16 lead late in the first half and eventually took a 35-18 advantage into the locker room at the break.
In the first 20 minutes, Houston connected on just 33.3 percent from the field while allowing the Mustangs to hit 48.1 percent. The Cougars also were hampered by seven turnovers while forcing only four SMU giveaways.
Biggest come-from-behind win since Houston trailed 45-23 with 13:50 remaining in regulation against UCF in Hofheinz Pavilion on Jan. 24, 2007.
Cougars' 54.0 field-goal percentage (27-of-50) is the second highest of the 2012-13 season... Trailed only the 54.8 percent (34-of-62) against Texas-Pan American on Jan. 3.
Cougars improved to 46-25 in the all-time series against SMU... Cougars moved to 17-12 all-time against SMU in Dallas.
Junior forward J.J. Richardson made his second start of the season... Cougars improved to 1-1 in games in which Richardson starts.
Sophomore forward TaShawn Thomas started his 51st consecutive game, every game of his collegiate career.
Following Saturday's game, the Cougars will take a week-long break from competition before returning to action at 1 p.m., Feb. 9, inside Hofheinz Pavilion against Tulane. That game will be shown live on CSS.
In addition, the Tulane game will be the first of three bobblehead doll giveaway games. The first 1,000 fans in attendance for the Tulane game will receive a free Michael Young bobblehead doll.
Single-game tickets for all remaining home games and a variety of ticket packs to suit any budget are on sale now. To purchase tickets, fans can call 713-GO-COOGS (462-6647) or 877-COUGAR-5 (268-4275) or visit the Athletics Ticket Office, located on the first floor of the Athletics/Alumni Center from 8 a.m., to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, or by online at UHCougars.com.
Fans can buy tickets 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by clicking the red and white Tickets tab at UHCougars.com and following the appropriate links or by clicking here.
To secure parking spaces and to support student-athlete scholarships through Cougar Pride for the upcoming season, fans should contact Cougar Pride at 713-743-GOUH or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Fans also can visit UHCougars.com and click the Cougar Pride tab for more information or click here.