Chris Lawson wrestles for posession in the first half Wednesday night.
Feb. 16, 2005
HOUSTON--The University of Houston men's basketball team used a 17-4 run midway through the first half to gain a double-digit lead and never looked back en route to a 68-50 win of South Florida Wednesday night at Hofheinz Pavilion.
In the run, Andre Owens scored six points including a three pointer, which extended the Houston lead to 11 with 10:07 left in the first half. Ramon Dyer added five points - a three pointer and two free throws, which upped the Houston lead to 16, 27-11, with 8:38 left before halftime.
The Bulls would climb to within ten off a lay-up by Marlyn Bryant, but the Cougars held USF to one point over the last five minutes, and they ended the first half leading by 17, 37-20, following an Owens three pointer. The 20 points were the fewest points Houston has allowed since holding Grambling State to 20 points, a span of 20 games.
Houston scored the first four points in the second half as Brian Latham made a lay-up off of a steal and Lanny Smith scored two free throws to increase the Cougars' lead to 21, 41-20. USF got within 15 after a Terrance Leather free throw made the score 43-28 with 14:40 remaining, butt that was as close as the Bulls would get the rest of the way.
The Cougars extended their lead to 24, 57-33, after Smith hit two more free throws with 8:20 left in the game. Houston's maintained a lead above 20 points for the next five minutes, before the Bulls climbed back to within 15 points one last time, 65-50, with 1:26 left to play. But, Owens ended the game making one of his two free throws and tipping in a missed jumper by Latham with 10 seconds left to make the final score, 68-50.
Owens led Houston with 20 points, his second straight 20-point game and fifth out of the last seven games (12th overall). Smith chipped in with 16 points and five assists.
Latham added 14 points and a career-high seven steals, which were the most by a Cougar this season and ties him for the seventh most in school history in a single game. Latham's total is the most by a Cougar since Dominic Smith had eight against Charlotte on Feb. 4, 2001.
Dyer had eight points and ten rebounds, his fifth double-digit rebounding game of the season.
Houston forced USF into 22 turnovers, which they converted into 31 points. The 22 turnovers is the 13th time Houston has forced an opponent into 20 or more turnovers this season, and the fourth time in the last five games that Houston has held their opponent to 55 or fewer points this season.
The win over USF improves Houston's overall record to 16-10 and 7-5 in Conference USA games. The victory combined with East Carolina's 67-64 win at UAB gives the Cougars sole possession of sixth place in the C-USA standings. Houston is one-half of a game head of both UAB and TCU, who both have 6-5 league records.
The Cougars look to avenge a 58-51 loss at TCU on Jan. 19 when the two teams face off at 7:00 p.m. Saturday night in Hofheinz Pavilion.
The win also improved Houston' record during the month of February to 4-1, and this is the first time the Cougars have won four games during February since 2001-02 and the first time Houston has won four of its first five games in the month since 1989-90 when Houston ended the month 7-0. Terrence Leather led South Florida (10-13, 3-9) with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Collin Dennis added nine points for the Bulls.