ORLANDO, Fla. - University of Houston sophomore guard Rob Gray, Jr., led five Cougars in double digits with 17 points, but it would not be enough as No. 10 seed Tulane rallied to take a 72-69 win on Friday night inside the Amway Center in the American Athletic Conference Championship Quarterfinals.
Gray, who entered the game as the Cougars' and American Athletic Conference's leading scorer with 16.3 points per game, connected on 6-of-11 shots from the field, including 3-of-6 from behind the 3-point line.
The Cougars, who fell to 22-9 overall, led by as many as 10 points in the second half and held a 63-58 advantage with senior forward Devonta Pollard sank a layup with 5:27 remaining.
Unfortunately, Tulane scored the next seven points and grabbed a 65-63 lead when Melvin Frazier buried a pair of free throws with 2:45 left in the game.
On the ensuing possession, Houston senior guard LeRon Barnes drained his second 3-pointer of the night to give the Cougars a 66-65 advantage, but Tulane regained the lead with Dylan Osetkowski sank a jumper with just 80 seconds left on the clock.
Pollard turned lead back to the Cougars' favor at 68-67 after driving the baseline for a dunk with 54 seconds, and Barnes sank 1-of-2 free throws with 19 seconds to go for a 69-67 Houston lead.
After a Tulane timeout, Cameron Reynolds nailed a 3-pointer from the left win for a 70-69 Green Wave lead with nine seconds left, and a Houston turnover forced the Cougars to foul with only five seconds remaining.
Tulane's Malik Morgan connected on both free throw attempts with two seconds left, and a Cougar desperation heave at the buzzer was off the mark.
Junior guard Damyean Dotson added 16 points with three 3-pointers, while Pollard and Barnes posted 11 points apiece with Barnes' nine rebounds leading all players. Freshman point guard Galen Robinson, Jr., totaled 10 points with three assists in the loss.
Osetkowski finished with 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting to lead Tulane, while Louis Dabney posted 16 points. Reynolds added 11 points in the win.
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