Feb. 14, 2009
HOUSTON - Sophomore guard Zamal Nixon scored a season-high 23 points and added four rebounds and three assists to lead the University of Houston men's basketball team to an 83-64 win against Conference USA-rival Tulane on Saturday inside Hofheinz Pavilion.
Making his fifth straight start, Nixon shouldered much of the offensive burden when junior guard Aubrey Coleman got into early foul trouble and was equal to the task. The Brooklyn, N.Y., native connected on 9-of-15 shots from the field, including 3-of-5 shooting from behind the arc.
The Cougars raced out to a 17-6 lead in the first seven minutes and never looked back in winning their fourth straight game against Tulane. The Green Wave pulled to within 27-19 late in the first half on Kris Richard's 3-pointer with 6:36 remaining in the opening period, but the Cougars used a 12-2 run to close out the first half and took a 39-21 advantage into the locker room at the break.
In the second half, the Cougars appeared to grab the game's momentum, but the Green Wave battled back and clawed to within 47-41 when Eric Vianney converted an old-fashioned 3-point play with 11:12 remaining in the game.
However, the Cougars used a 11-2 run over the next two minutes to seize control of the game and never led by fewer than seven points the rest of the way.
Solid shooting from the free throw line by the Cougars throughout the game prevented the Green Wave from mounting a lengthy offensive charge. UH converted 27-of-28 free throw attempts with senior center Marcus Cousin drilling all eight of his attempts and freshman point guard Desmond Wade and junior center Nick Mosley connected on six attempts apiece.
Junior guard Kelvin Lewis broke out of a slump with 16 points, including three 3-pointers, while Cousin added 12 points and a team-high seven rebounds. Junior forward Qa'rraan Calhoun added 10 points, five rebounds and four steals, while Wade added eight points with five assists and a pair of steals.
Mosley also provided some key minutes in the low post, scoring eight points with four rebounds and two blocks in only 10 minutes.
With the win, the Cougars improved to 16-7 overall and 7-3 in league games. UH's win, combined with Tulsa's loss at UCF on Saturday, pushed the Cougars into a tie for second place with UAB in the latest league standings.
The Cougars also improved to 10-2 this season in the friendly confines of Hofheinz Pavilion. It marked the fifth straight season - all under head coach Tom Penders -- that the team enjoyed at least 10 home wins, a first since 1988-93.
With the loss, Tulane dropped to 10-14 overall and 4-7 in C-USA contests.
Guard Kris Richard led Tulane with 20 points, including three treys, while guard Kevin Sims added 10 points. Forward Asim McQueen led all players with eight rebounds while playing all but one minute in the game.
NEXT GAME FOR HOUSTON
Following the Tulane game, the Cougars hit the road to meet Conference USA-rival Marshall at 6 p.m. (CST), Wednesday, in Huntington, W.Va. It will be the only regular-season meeting between the Cougars and Thundering Herd in 2008-09.
NEXT HOME GAME FOR HOUSTON
Following the Marshall game on Wednesday, the Cougars return to Hofheinz Pavilion to play host to league-rival UCF at 7 p.m., Feb. 28 , inside Hofheinz Pavilion. It will be the second regular-season meeting between the two teams after the Cougars enjoyed a 97-69 win in Orlando on Feb. 4.
Free admission is available to approved groups of 10 or more people for the remaining Saturday home games (Feb. 21, vs. UCF and March 7, vs. SMU). For more information, please call the Marketing Office at 713-743-9453.
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.