Feb. 11, 2009
DALLAS - Using solid pressure defense the game, the University of Houston men's basketball claimed a 69-56 win at Conference USA-rival SMU on Wednesday inside Moody Coliseum.
In each half, the Cougars found themselves trailing the Mustangs but used a strong defensive effort in each period to regain the advantage. UH forced 19 SMU turnovers that led to 19 points and limited the Mustangs to only six field goals and 27.3 percent shooting from the field in the second half.
With the win, the Cougars improved to 15-7 overall and 6-3 in league games and earned their sixth straight win against the Mustangs. SMU fell to 7-15 overall and 1-8 in C-USA games.
Trailing 25-18 after SMU forward Bamba Falls' free throws with 9:43 remaining, the Cougars closed out the first half on a 14-5 run and took a 32-30 lead into the locker room at halftime. UH allowed only two SMU field goals in the final 10:32 of the first half, including none for a near 6-minute stretch.
Following the break, the Cougars jumped out to a 39-33 lead early in the final period, but SMU stormed back and took a 43-41 lead when Fall connected on another free throw at the 12:33 mark.
However, that would be the last mark the Mustangs would put on the scoreboard for nearly eight minutes. Amazingly, the Mustangs would not hit a field goal for more than 11 minutes in the game, scoring only eight points from the free throw line during that drought.
Meanwhile, the Cougars erupted on a 14-0 run with four different players scoring during that stretch to turn a 2-point deficit into a comfortable 10-point cushion. The Mustangs would get no closer than nine points the rest of the way.
Senior center Marcus Cousin scored 14 points and added a career-high 14 rebounds to tie for the team lead with eight double-doubles this season. Junior guard Aubrey Coleman added 20 points and five rebounds, while junior forward Qa'rraan Calhoun connected on 5-of-7 shots for 13 points with seven rebounds. Junior guard Kelvin Lewis added 11 points and a pair of assists in the win.
Making his fourth straight start, sophomore point guard Zamal Nixon dished out a career-high-tying seven assists with only one turnover to pace the Cougar offense.
Fall led SMU with 16 points, while Mouhammad Faye led the Mustangs with 13 rebounds.
NEXT HOME GAME FOR HOUSTON
The Cougars return to the friendly confines of Hofheinz Pavilion to play host to Conference USA-rival Tulane at 7 p.m., Saturday. That game is part of a day-night doubleheader with the UH women's basketball team, which plays host to Conference USA-rival UTEP at noon, Saturday, in a game to be televised on CBS College Sports.
Fans can hear the men's 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 can purchase their tickets by calling 713-GO-COOGS or by stopping by the Athletics Ticket Office in the Athletics/Alumni Center during regular business hours, Monday through Friday. Fans always can purchase tickets by visiting UHCougars.com and clicking on the Tickets links.
During halftime of Saturday's men's game against Tulane, fans can enjoy a special Valentine's Day performance by Shasta.
Free admission is available to approved groups of 10 or more people for the remaining Saturday home games (Feb. 14, vs. Tulane; Feb. 21, vs. UCF and March 7, vs. SMU). For more information, please call the UH Marketing Office at 713-743-9453.