EL PASO, Texas - Freshman forward Alandise Harris scored 18 points with six rebounds and senior forward Maurice McNeil added 13 points, but it would not be enough as the University of Houston men's basketball team dropped a 76-64 decision to Conference USA-rival UTEP in the Don Haskins Center on Saturday night.
Trailing for much of the game, the Cougars battled throughout the evening and moved to within 62-57 when McNeil converted a Zamal Nixon pass into a layup with 5:53 remaining in the contest.
Unfortunately, that would be as close as Houston would get the rest of the way. UTEP scored the next six points to seize control of the game and finished the game on a 14-7 run to sweep the regular-season series against the Cougars.
Although the Cougars outrebounded UTEP 32-31 in the game, the Miners used steady shooting throughout the game to take the win. UTEP connected on at least 44 percent from the field in each half while finishing at 46.2 percent (24-of-52) in the game.
With the loss, the Cougars dropped to 12-13 overall and 4-8 in C-USA games. UTEP improved to 20-6 overall and 8-3 in league games.
Harris posted 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting and added a career-high two 3-pointers to finish one point shy of his career high. McNeil totaled 13 points on 4-of-8 shooting and added a team-high seven rebounds, while Nixon posted 11 points with three rebounds, six assists and a pair of steals while playing all but one minute.
UTEP guard Randy Culpepper led all players with 33 points, thanks to 9-of-13 shooting from the field and 12-of-12 shooting from the free throw line. With 14 points and six rebounds, center Claude Britten was the only other Miner to reach double digits. Guard Julyan Stone led all players with nine rebounds and seven assists.
The Cougars continue their road swing when they meet Memphis at 8 p.m., Tuesday, inside the FedExForum in Memphis, Tenn. That game will be broadcast live on CBS College Sports with Tom McCarthy calling the play-by-play action and Pete Gillen working as analyst.
From there, the team returns to the friendly confines of Hofheinz Pavilion when they play host to UAB at 5 p.m., Feb. 26, inside Hofheinz Pavilion
Fans can hear all Cougar men's basketball games live on SportsTalk 790 AM KBME with Tom Franklin calling the play-by-play action and Cougar legend Elvin Hayes serving as analyst.
Two regular-season home games remain on the schedule, and Cougar men's basketball tickets are available now.
Fans can purchase the Houston Hoops 4-Pack for the UAB (Feb. 26) game at Hofheinz Pavilion. For only $48, fans can receive 4 general admission tickets, 4 small drinks, 4 hot dogs and 4 hats (selected styles) from the UH Fan Shop.
If more than four tickets are needed, each additional ticket purchased will cost only $12 each and will receive the extra items.
The Houston Hoops 4-Pack will not be available on game days at the Hofheinz Pavilion ticket windows.
Fans have several options when ordering their men's basketball tickets. They can visit the Athletics Ticket Office, located on the first floor of the Athletics/Alumni Center by the UH Fan Shop, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Fans also can call 713-GO-COOGS (462-6647) or click the Tickets tab at UHCougars.com to buy tickets today.