STORRS, Conn. (AP) - Houston forward Devonta Pollard says the Cougars are treating every game from this point forward as a must win.
Guard Damyean Dotson scored 22 points and grabbed 14 rebounds as Houston improved its NCAA resume Sunday with a 75-68 win over UConn.
Pollard added 17 points for the Cougars (21-9, 11-6 American Athletic), who have won five of their last six games.
''Every game from now on out is a tournament game, that's how we're looking at,'' Pollard said. ''I think we're a tournament team, because we won't stop fighting. We won't go away.''
Daniel Hamilton had 20 points and seven rebounds for UConn (20-9, 10-6), which had won three of four coming in.
The Huskies led by as many as nine points in the first half. But the Cougars used an 8-0 run at the end of the half to cut the lead to a point and went up by as many as seven in the second half.
Houston took the lead for good on a free throw by Ronnie Johnson with 3:15 to play. A 3-pointer from the right wing by Dotson with 1:08 left extended the lead to 72-66 and the Cougars held on.
''I just looked at the (shot) clock and there was four seconds left and I couldn't pass it, so I just put it up and it went in,'' he said.
Houston hit its last five shots. UConn missed seven of its last nine.
''There is a believability that has to go on within the confines of your team to win on the road, and I think that is one of the things we have,'' said Houston coach Kelvin Sampson.
A Pollard floater over 7-foot center Amida Brimah gave Houston its first lead since 2-0 at 39-37 early in the second half, part of a 9-0 run that saw the Cougars take a seven-point lead.
A lob pass from Gibbs to Brimah brought the Huskies back to within one at 51-50 and brought the crowd back into the game.
The teams went back and forth from there.
UConn opened the game on an 8-2 run thanks in part to three early rebounds from Brimah, who finished with 10 points and seven rebounds.
A tomahawk dunk by Rodney Purvis off a Houston turnover brought the crowd into the game and gave UConn a 24-15 lead.
''Coach called timeout and said stay within yourself, play, make the right pass, be unselfish and just play how we know how to play,'' Dotson said.
The Cougars responded by scoring the next five to get back to within four after a layup by Rob Gray, Jr. The sophomore guard came into the game as the Cougar's leading scorer, averaging 17.1 points off the bench. But he is still recovering from an ankle sprain and was held to just two points in 16 minutes.
The Huskies had several opportunities to extend the lead to double digits, but would miss a foul shot, or turn the ball over.
UConn gave back a Houston turnover when Daniel Hamilton's long pass on a fast-break was intercepted and Dotson turned a missed 3-pointer by Ronnie Johnson into a highlight reel dunk. Dotson had 10 of his points before halftime and the Cougars trailed just 33-32.
''It just comes down to toughness and I'm going to stop my man,'' UConn coach Kevin Ollie said. ''That's pretty much what it comes down to. And the lack of effort that we showed out here is very disappointing.''
The teams came into the game with identical records, but UConn had an RPI of 42, while Houston's was 88, making the game a must-win for the Cougars, who have won eight more games than a year ago.
The teams split the season series. The Huskies won 69-57 in Houston last month.
Houston: Galen Robinson Jr.'s three assists give him 101 for the season. He's just the sixth freshman in Houston history to reach that milestone, and the first since Desmond Wade had 113 in 2008-09.
UConn: It was the Huskies first loss on campus this season. UConn came into the game 7-0 at Gampel Pavilion and 5-2 in Hartford at the XL Center. They have one home game, at Gampel next Saturday against UCF before the conference tournament.
Following Sunday's game, the Cougars return to the friendly confines of Hofheinz Pavilion to close out their 2015-16 regular-season schedule. Houston plays host to Cincinnati at 8 p.m., Thursday.
HOW TO ORDER TICKETS
Fans have a variety of ticket options to accommodate any budget. Season tickets, group tickets, single-game tickets and 3-Point Packs are on sale now. To purchase tickets or for complete information, fans can visit uhcougars.com/tickets and follow the appropriate links or click here.
Fans also can call 713-GO-COOGS (462-6647) or visit the Athletics Ticket Office from 10 a.m., to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. To purchase tickets in person, fans can visit the Athletics Ticket Office located on the northeast corner of TDECU Stadium, just outside of Gate 1 off Cullen Boulevard. Parking is available in the TDECU Stadium parking garage with the first 30 minutes free of charge.
Current University of Houston students are admitted free to ALL Houston Men's Basketball game when presenting a valid ID at the doors.
AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIP TICKETS
All-Session passes for the 2016 American Athletic Conference Championship are now on sale. The league's annual postseason event will be held March 10-13 inside the Amway Center in Orlando.
All-Session passes begin at $175 for every game of the tournament. Fans can purchase All-Session passes to the 2016 American Athletic Conference Championship by clicking here.
Single-game tickets for Houston Men's Basketball's 2015-16 season begin at only $5 per game. Fans can purchase General Admission single-game tickets for only $5, while Reserved 2 seating is available for only $10 per game. Fans may buy Reserved 1 single-game tickets for $15 per ticket.
Fans can purchase single-game tickets by clicking here.
Tickets for groups of 10-24 or more can be purchased for as low as $12 per ticket in Reserved 2 for 18 regular-season home games inside Hofheinz Pavilion. Groups of more than 25 people can buy Reserved 2 tickets for only $10 per ticket
Groups of 10-24 can buy tickets for only $10 per ticket in Reserved 2 with prices plummeting to only $6 per ticket for groups of 25 or more.
Administrators can find more information about group tickets seating and pricing by clicking here.
Fans can receive the latest news and notes by following @UHCougarMBK on Twitter. Fans also can discuss the latest Houston Men's Basketball news and notes on the team's Facebook page by clicking LIKE at HoustonCougarMensHoops.