MEMPHIS, Tenn. - University of Houston senior guard Rob Gray led all players with 30 points and seven assists, but it would not be enough as Memphis took a 91-85 win over the Cougars inside FedExForum on Thursday evening.
Gray recorded the sixth 30-point game of his career thanks to 9-of-15 shooting from the field and 10-of-11 from the free throw line. With his total, he moved into a tie with Tim Moore (1993-95) for sixth in Houston career history with six 30-point efforts.
The 23rd-ranked Cougars fell to 21-6 overall and 11-6 in American Athletic Conference play, a game behind second place No. 13/12 Wichita State. Memphis improved to 17-11 overall and 8-7 in conference play.
The Tigers connected on 54.2 percent from the field during the game, including nearly 61 percent in the second half, and buried 10-of-19 tries from the 3-point line to snap the Cougars' five-game winning streak.
Houston jumped out to an 18-10 lead early in the game thanks to a 13-0 run and held a 43-37 lead at halftime. The Cougars grabbed a 66-65 lead when Gray connected on a pair of free throws with 9:13 remaining in the game.
However, Memphis' Raynere Thornton sank a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession to give the Tigers the lead for good and, following a missed Houston shot, Malik Rhodes hit another trey to give Memphis a 71-66 lead with 7:57 left.
Gray drove the lane and banked a layup to move the Cougars to within 71-68, but the Tigers scored the next five points on three free throws from Thornton and a Mike Parks Jr. jumper and did not allow Houston to move within four points the rest of the way.
Guards Corey Davis Jr. and Armoni Brooks finished with 15 points apiece and combined for nine of the Cougars' 11 3-pointers. Davis sank at least one 3-pointer in his 23rd straight game, tying with Richard Hollis for the sixth-longest streak in school history.
Junior forward Breaon Brady tied for game-high honors with nine rebounds.
Thornton and Jimario Rivers led the Tigers with 21 points apiece, while Kyvon Davenport added 13 points. Rivers also grabbed a team-high nine rebounds, while Kareem Brewton came off the bench to lead Memphis with five assists.
Following Thursday's game, the Cougars return home to play host to ECU at 2 p.m., Sunday, inside H&PE Arena... Game will be shown on ESPN3 and can be heard on KPRC 950 AM.
From there, Houston closes out its regular-season road schedule when it takes on SMU at 8 p.m., Feb. 28, inside Moody Coliseum in Dallas... Game will be shown on ESPN2 and can be heard on KPRC 950 AM.
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