|Three Point Field Goals||2-14||4-11|
Nov. 6, 2010
HOUSTON - Senior forward Maurice McNeil posted a game-high 17 points, and junior guard Trumaine Johnson's baseline jumper with 47 seconds remaining gave the University of Houston men's basketball team the lead for good during a 71-68 win against Abilene Christian on Saturday afternoon inside Hofheinz Pavilion.
Trailing 66-64 after a pair of Marcus Washington free throws with 2:13 remaining, the Cougars used four straight free throws from freshman forward Alandise Harris and McNeil for a 68-66 lead with only 94 seconds remaining.
Desmond Woodberry's layup knotted the game against at 68-68 with 1:11 to go. On the ensuing possession, the Cougars worked the clock down and McNeil fed Johnson on the baseline for a jumper that gave the Cougars the lead for the rest of the afternoon.
Johnson hit 1-of-2 free throws with 20 seconds to go, giving the Wildcats a chance to tie the game. But McNeil blocked Vladimir Gravranic's 3-point attempt with just seconds remaining to ice the win for the Cougars.
"I am glad we won. It was certainly a struggle,'" said head coach James Dickey, who made his Houston debut. "We didn't do a good job of getting the basketball where we needed, but when we did, good things happened to us. Down the stretch, we had some guys who did some great things."
The Cougars used a steady shooting performance from the field throughout the game, hitting 63.2 percent of their shots in the first half alone and finished the day hitting 22-of-40 shots. However, turnovers and ACU's offensive rebounding kept the game close.
Houston finished with 26 turnovers, while the Wildcats posted 20 offensive rebounds as the Cougars built only a 37-35 halftime lead.
McNeil hit all five of his field goal attempts and buried 7-of-10 free throw attempts for a game-high 17 points. Making his collegiate debut, Harris nailed all five of his field goal attempts and was 6-of-10 from the charity stripe to finish with 17 points of his own.
Senior guard Adam Brown added 12 points, while junior guard Darian Thibodeaux - making his first appearance in the Scarlet and White - led all players with 11 rebounds. Johnson finished with five points and a game-high seven assists.
ACU forward Giordan Cole posted 16 points with six rebounds to lead the Wildcats, while Woodberry finished with 14 points and six boards. Guard Preston Davis added 10 points and four assists in the losing effort.
The Cougars open the regular season at 7 p.m., Friday, Nov. 12, when they play host to Nicholls State inside Hofheinz Pavilion. This marks the second straight season the Cougars will open against the Colonels.
A year ago, Houston enjoyed a 92-60 win against Nicholls State.
From there, the Cougars meet Alcorn State at 2 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 14, at Hofheinz Pavilion. That game will be part of a doubleheader with the Houston women's team, which meets UT Arlington at 5 p.m., Sunday.
Fans can purchase men's basketball season tickets now. General admission season tickets sell for only $135, while reserved season tickets can be purchased for only $195.
Fans also can buy the Family Fun Plan, which includes two adult and two youth general admission season tickets, for only $299. Additional youth season tickets can be purchased for only $75 each in the Plan.
Fans have several options when ordering their men's basketball season tickets. They can visit the Athletics Ticket Office, located on the first floor of the Athletics/Alumni Center by the UH Fan Shop, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Fans also can call 713-GO-COOGS (462-6647) or click the Tickets link at UHCougars.com to buy season tickets today.
* Saturday's game was the Cougars' first game against Abilene Christian since Dec. 2, 1947... The Cougars hold a 2-1 lead in the all-time series prior to Saturday.
* Houston head coach James Dickey is the eighth head coach in the program's history.
* Sophomore guard Nick Haywood made the first start of his collegiate career.
* Junior guard Darian Thibodeaux made the first start of his collegiate career.
* Thibodeaux and freshman forwards Mikhail McLean and Alandise Harris made their collegiate debuts.