Feb. 20, 2010
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Despite a valiant early comeback, the University of Houston men's basketball team fell victim to hot shooting from the field by UAB during the final 20 minutes in a 75-66 loss to the Blazers on Saturday night at Bartow Arena
The Cougars looked headed for a rough night at the beginning, falling behind 22-7 when Cameron Moore converted a layup with 12:50 remaining in the first half. Following a Houston timeout, the Cougars erupted on a 20-4 run during the next 9:21 to grab a 27-26 lead on freshman forward Kendrick Washington's layup at the 3:29.
The two teams battled back and forth from there before the Blazers claimed a 34-33 lead at the halftime break.
After holding UAB to 42.4 percent from the field in the first half, the Cougar defense saw the Blazers convert 58.3 percent (14-of-24) in the final stanza and hit 50 percent in the game. Houston was limited to 23-of-68 percent (23-of-68) during that same stretch.
In the second half, both teams continued their tug-of-war with neither squad scoring more than three unanswered points until the Cougars broke a 44-44 tie with four straight points.
The Cougars eventually held a 49-48 lead when junior guard Zamal Nixon hit the first of two free throws. Unfortunately, that would be the last time Houston would hold the lead as UAB used an 8-2 run to grab the lead for good.
Trailing 61-53 with 6:34 to go, the Cougars staged one last rally and pulled to within 63-59 when Nixon buried a jumper just under the 4-minute mark. But the Blazers scored the next six points and then converted six of their last eight free throws in the final two minutes to take the win.
Senior guard Aubrey Coleman led the Cougars with 20 points and a pair of 3-pointers, while Nixon came off the bench to add 15 points. Junior forward Maurice McNeil posted 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting with eight rebounds, while Washington led the team with 10 rebounds, the fifth straight game that the Shreveport, La., native set or tied his career high in that category.
UAB guard Elijah Millsap led all players with 22 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the field, including 12-of-16 from the free throw line and added a game-high 14 rebounds. Forward Howard Crawford added 20 second-half points for the Blazers.
With the loss, the Cougars fell to 13-13 overall and 5-7 in C-USA games. UAB improved to 21-5 overall and 9-3 in league games.
The Cougars return to action at 7 p.m., Wednesday, when they meet Conference USA-rival Memphis inside Hofheinz Pavilion in Houston.
The game can be heard live on SportsTalk 790 AM or on the Internet at UHCougars.com with Tom Franklin calling the play-by-play action. The pregame show is slated to begin at 6:45 p.m.
Fans can purchase men's basketball tickets online at UHCougars.com by clicking the Tickets link, by calling 713-GO-COOGS (462-6647) or by visiting the Athletics Ticket Office on the first floor of the Athletics/Alumni Center from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Single-game tickets and a variety of packages also are available now and can be purchased for as low as $35.
The radio show airs live from 7 to 8 p.m. on Thursdays for the remainder of the season. The next edition of The Pulse with Tom Penders will broadcast live on Thursday, Feb. 25, from Ragin Cajun (4302 Richmond, 77027).
The show can be heard live on SportsTalk 790 AM or on the Internet at UHCougars.com and will be hosted by the "Voice of the Cougars" Tom Franklin.
Fans are invited to join Penders and Franklin at the selected restaurant each week as the duo discusses recent Cougar Basketball action and upcoming games, college basketball, the world of sports and much more.
Fans also can click the "Ask Coach Penders" button on the main page at UHCougars.com to submit a question that could be asked on the show.
Following the Feb. 25 show, fans can join the next edition of The Pulse with Tom Penders at Bubba's Sports Bar & Grill (6225 Washington, 77077) on March 4.
* With 20 points, senior guard Aubrey Coleman recorded his 22nd game in 2009-10 and the 38th game with at least 20 points.
* Freshman forward Kendrick Washington recorded his third straight game with double-digit rebounds, the longest streak by any Cougar this season.
* Washington posted a career-high with four steals against the Blazers... It topped his previous high of three steals, set earlier this week at UCF.
* Senior guard Kelvin Lewis competed in his 89th consecutive game and made his 62nd straight start... Both streaks are the longest among active Cougar players.
* Senior guard Kelvin Lewis was held scoreless in a game for the first time since playing at Memphis on Feb. 13, 2008.