Kelvin Lewis led the Cougars with 16 points in Monday's opener. (File Photo)
Nov. 10, 2008
DURHAM, N.C. - University of Houston center Marcus Cousin scored a career-high 13 points with a career- and game-high 13 rebounds for the first double-double of his career, but it would not be enough as Georgia Southern claimed a 65-63 win during the first game of the Durham Regional of the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer.
Trailing for much of the game, the Cougars grabbed their first lead at 41-40 when freshman guard Desmond Wade hit a free throw with 15:41 remaining in the game. The lead would not last long as Georgia Southern built a 45-42 advantage, but the Cougars seemed to grab the game's momentum with a 14-6 run that handed UH a 56-51 lead with midway through the second half.
Cousin led the run, scoring 10 of his 13 points during that stretch.
Unfortunately, those would be the last points the Cougars would score over the next two-and-a-half minutes as the Golden Eagles scored the next six points - all from the free throw line - to regain a 57-56 lead.
After two Qa'rraan Calhoun free throws gave the Cougars a 58-57 lead, Pearson hit another jumper to give the Eagles a one-point advantage. Sophomore guard Zamal Nixon hit a free throw to tie the game at 59-59 with 5:35 left, but buckets from Pearson and Antonio Hanson gave the Eagles a 63-59 lead.
Aubrey Coleman's free throw pulled the Cougars to within a trey, but Julian Allen's tip-in with 3:53 remaining gave the Eagles 65-60 lead. Wade hit a 3-pointer with 2:40 remaining for a 65-63 lead, but that would be the final points either team would score the rest of the way. The Cougars had chances in the final two minutes but were the victims of a missed layup and two turnovers for the final margin of victory.
The Cougars had one final chance after a defensive rebound and timeout with five seconds left, but after racing up three-quarters of the court, Wade's 3-pointer at the buzzer was off the mark.
In the first meeting between the two schools, the Cougars suffered their first season-opening loss under head coach Tom Penders, who begins his fifth season at the head of the UH bench in 2008-09.
Junior guard Kelvin Lewis led the Cougars with 16 points, including four 3-pointers, but fouled out with 6:42 remaining in the game. Competing in their first games in Cougar uniforms, Coleman and Wade each scored 10 points with Wade's three assists - and no turnovers - leading the team.
Pearson led all players with 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting, including a pair of 3-pointers, and added a team-high 11 rebounds, while Willie Powers finished with 14 points. Sandy Perry came off the bench to score 12 points in the win.
The Cougars dug themselves an early hole with some cold shooting, missing nine of their first 10 shots as the Golden Eagles built a 10-5 lead. UH trailed 30-19 with 4:15 remaining in the first half on Trumaine Pearson's jumper.
However, the Cougars responded with a 10-4 run to close out the first half and pull to within 34-29 at the break, despite shooting only 29 percent from the field. Freshman guard Desmond Wade, making his first appearance in a Cougar uniform, led the way with a 3-pointer and free throw, while junior guard Aubrey Coleman added four free throws in the run.
The Cougars return to action at 5 p.m. (CST), Tuesday when they face Presbyterian in the Durham Regional consolation game. The Blue Hose were an 80-49 loser to No. 8/5 Duke later Monday evening.
The game can be heard live on 790 AM The Sports Animal with Tom Franklin calling the play-by-play action. The pregame show is slated to begin at 4:45 p.m. (CST).
UH opens its 2008-09 home schedule when it plays host to Western Kentucky at 3 p.m., Saturday, at Hofheinz Pavilion. That game will be part of a busy day around the UH Athletics Complex.
The Cougar Women's Basketball team meets Gardner-Webb at noon with the men's basketball game to follow shortly after there. At 7 p.m., the Cougar Football team plays host to Conference USA rival Tulsa in a pivotal game that could decided the C-USA West Division champion and representative in the 2008 C-USA Championship Game.