Feb. 23, 2008
HOUSTON - Sophomore guard Kelvin Lewis poured in a career-high 22 points to help lead the University of Houston men's basketball team to a 71-62 win over crosstown- and Conference USA rival Rice on Saturday at Hofheinz Pavilion.
The game went back and forth until late in the first half when the Cougars broke the game open. After Patrick Britton's free throw gave the Owls a 22-21 lead at the 6:45 mark, the Cougars ended the first half on a 15-4 run and took a 36-26 halftime advantage into the locker room.
The Cougars pushed that advantage to 16 points on several occasions in the second half, with the latest at the 12:51 mark on junior center Marcus Cousin's free throws.
But the Owls took off on an 18-6 run of their own and pulled to within 56-52 when Suleiman Braimoh connected on a pair of free throws. However, that would be as close as the Owls would get the rest of the night. The Cougars went on a 9-2 run over the next 3:49 and enjoyed a 10-point lead following a layup from Lewis.
UH would never lead by fewer than nine points the rest of the way.
Lewis was one of three Cougars to reach double digits in points. Senior guard Robert McKiver scored 18 points, thanks to six 3-pointers, the first time he had not reached 20 points in the team's last seven games. Junior guard DaShaun posted 11 points with seven rebounds, while senior forward Dion Dowell led all players with nine rebounds.
With the win, the Cougars improved to 20-6 overall and 9-3 in C-USA action. Rice dropped its 16th straight game and fell to 3-23 overall, 0-13 in C-USA games.
The Cougars also recorded their 20th win of the 2007-08 season, the second time during the last three seasons that UH reached that milestone. It was the first time that the Cougars recorded at least two winning seasons in a three-year stretch since 1991-94.
Rice guard Rodney Foster scored 22 points, including six 3-pointers to lead the Owls offense which shot just over 40 percent from the field. Britton added 10 points, while Braimoh chipped in with a team-high six rebounds.
The Cougars return to action at 7 p.m., Wednesday, when they play host to C-USA rival Southern Miss at Hofheinz Pavilion. Fans can hear the game live on 790 AM The Sports Animal with Tom Franklin calling the play-by-play action and Carl Dukes providing color analysis.
Fans always can follow live stats on the Internet by clicking on the Gametracker link at UHCougars.com.