HOUSTON - University of Houston sophomore guard Armoni Brooks poured in a career-high 22 points with six rebounds to lead the Cougars to an 81-53 season-opening win over McNeese on Friday night inside H&PE Arena in a game presented by Maintenance Supply Headquarters.
Brooks connected on 8-of-11 shots from the field, including 5-of-8 from beyond the 3-point line while hitting his lone free throw attempt. The Round Rock, Texas, native topped his previous career best of 15 points at American Athletic Conference rival ECU on Jan. 11, 2017.
Brooks made the start after senior guard Rob Gray sat out the game due to an NCAA 1-game suspension. Gray, who was an All-American Athletic Conference First-Team performer a year ago, competed in a church recreation league game during the spring, a violation of NCAA rules.
The Cougars jumped out to a 13-5 lead in the game’s first four minutes, but McNeese rallied and moved to within 24-22 when Kalob Ledoux drained a 3-pointer with 8:43 left in the first half.
However, Houston used a 24-8 run over the next seven-minutes and took a 48-30 lead when Brooks tipped in a missed jumper with 1:31 left in the opening half. The Cougars would never lead by fewer than 15 points the rest of the way.
The Cougars connected on 56.9 percent (29-of-51) from the field in the game, including a blistering 69.2 percent (18-of-26) in the first half while holding the Cowboys to only 29.3 percent (17-of-58). Houston also outrebounded McNeese 46-31 with 12 offensive rebounds.
Senior guard Wes VanBeck posted 14 points with three 3-pointers and added three rebounds. Making his collegiate debut, junior guard Corey Davis Jr. finished with 12 points and two rebounds and tied for game-high honors with five assists.
Senior forward Devin Davis did a little of everything with seven points, five rebounds and five assists, while junior forward Breaon Brady nearly finished with a double-double with eight points and a game-high 10 rebounds in his Houston debut.
Jacob Ledoux came off the bench to score 10 points to lead McNeese, while Quattarius Wilson added six points with a team-high six rebounds.
The Cougars head to Lynchburg, Va., to compete in the Paradise Jam on Nov. 17-19. The Cougars open that tournament at 1:30 p.m. (CST), Nov. 17 against Drexel before facing the winner-loser of Mercer-Liberty on Nov. 18. The event concludes on Nov. 19.
The tournament was originally scheduled to be played in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, but damage from Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria forced it to move locations.
From there, Houston returns home to play host to UIW at 7 p.m., Nov. 25, inside H&PE Arena.
Season tickets for 15 regular-season games inside H&PE Arena on the campus of Texas Southern begin as low as $100. Fans can purchase season tickets online at UHCougars.com/tickets or by calling the Athletics Ticket Office at 713-GO-COOGS (462-6647).
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