March 10, 2010
TULSA, Okla. - Senior guard Aubrey Coleman scored a game-high 29 points to lead five players in double digits as the University of Houston men's basketball team rolled to a 93-80 win against No. 10 seed East Carolina on Wednesday afternoon inside the BOK Center during the first round of the GMC Sierra Conference USA Championship first round.
Coleman, who entered the game as the nation's leading scorer, connected on 9-of-20 shots and grabbed four rebounds with five assists, one assist and only one turnover in 36 minutes. However, the Houston native was only a part of a steady Cougar offensive effort.
Senior guard Kelvin Lewis added 15 points, while senior forward Sean Coleman and junior forward Maurice McNeil added 11 points and a game-high eight rebounds. Sophomore point guard Desmond Wade was close to perfect in the game, hitting all four shots from the field - including three 3-pointers - going 2-for-2 from the free throw line with a game-high seven assists, three steals and no turnovers in 24 minutes
The two teams battled to a close game until the Cougars used a late first-half run to take a 50-37 lead into the locker room at halftime. Leading only 34-30, the Cougars closed out the first half with a 16-7 run during the final 6:06 to build a double-digit advantage they would barely relinquish.
In the second half, the Cougars, who are competing as the No. 7 seed, built a 58-42 lead early and then pushed that to 72-47 with a 24-5 run during the next 3:32 for a seemingly insurmountable lead. However, the Pirates had one last run in them and turned an 88-69 Houston lead into an 89-80 margin on Corvonn Gaines' layup with 2:06 remaining.
However, that would be as close as the Pirates would get the rest of the way. Coleman nailed a layup with just less than a minute remaining, and Wade buried a pair of free throws to give the Cougars a team scoring record at the C-USA Championship.
Brock Young led the Pirates with 24 points and five assists, while Darrius Morrow added 22 points and three assist. Erin Straughn chipped in with 12 points, and DaQuan Joyner came off the bench to post a team-high eight rebounds.
With the win, the Cougars improved to 16-15 overall, while East Carolina ended its season with a 10-21 overall mark.
The Cougars advance to the GMC Sierra C-USA Championship quarterfinals and meet No. 2 seed Memphis at noon, Thursday, at the BOK Center.
Fans can hear that game live on SportsTalk 790 AM with Tom Franklin calling the play-by-play action. The pregame show is slated to begin at 11:45 a.m.
Fans also can watch the game on CBS College Sports (DirecTV channel 613/Dish Network channel 152) or at UHCougars.com with Roger Twibell calling the play-by-play action and Sean Farnham providing analysis.
* With 93 points, the Cougars scored their most points at in a conference championship game since a 93-82 win against Texas Tech on March 2, 1978, inside The Summit in Houston at the Southwest Conference Tournament.
* With 93 points, the Cougars recorded the eighth-highest team point total in Conference USA Championship history.
* With 13 3-pointers, the Cougars tied for the second-highest total in Conference USA Championship history... It equaled the mark by Charlotte against USF (March 8, 2001), by Charlotte against UAB (March 8, 2000) and by Marquette vs. Cincinnati (March 7, 1997)... It trailed only the 15 treys by Louisville against Memphis (March 12, 2005) and by Louisville against TCU (March 6, 2002).
* With 29 points, senior guard Aubrey Coleman recorded the 14th highest single-game point total at the Conference USA Championship.
* With 29 points, senior guard Aubrey Coleman moved into 14th place in Houston career history with 1,429 points... Up next in the Houston records book is Robert McKiver, who scored 1,435 points from 2006 to 2008.
* Senior guard Kelvin Lewis competed in his 94th consecutive game and made his 67th straight start... Both streaks are the longest among active Cougar players.
* With 15 points, senior guard Kelvin Lewis moved into 16th place in Houston career history with 1,388 points... Up next in the Houston records book is Andre Owens, who scored 1,407 points from 2002 to 2005.
* With three 3-pointers, senior forward Sean Coleman tied his career high...Coleman equaled his personal best against Conference USA-rival SMU (Feb. 13) and at Nevada (Nov. 21, 2009).
* With three 3-pointers, sophomore point guard Desmond Wade tied his career high... It was the fourth time in his career Wade reached that mark and the first time since playing at Conference USA-rival Rice (Jan. 6).