Nov. 17, 2009
HOUSTON - Senior guard Aubrey Coleman poured in a game-high 33 points to lead the University of Houston men's basketball team to a 92-60 season-opening win against Nicholls State on Tuesday inside Hofheinz Pavilion.
Coleman, who recorded the fourth 30-point game of his career, shot 12-of-25 from the field with two 3-pointers, three assists and four steals. The Houston native also fell just one rebound shy of posting the 15th double-double of his career.
The Cougars (1-0) overcame a slow start in each half but cruised to their first ever victory against the Colonels. Nicholls State started the game on a 7-0 run, prompting head coach Tom Penders to call a time-out 75 seconds into the contest.
"We made an adjustment. I just wanted to settle them down. They were a little too amped," Penders said. "We started to adjust and get stronger."
Whatever the sixth-year Houston head coach said did the trick, as the Cougars scored 12 of the next 14 points. Nicholls State's Kenny Franklin Jr., buried a three with 12:49 remaining in the opening period, but that would be the last points the Colonels would score during the next 4:47.
Houston exploded on a 13-0 run, highlighted by senior guard Kelvin Lewis' four points. Nicholls State rallied briefly to put the score at 25-18 with 6:47 left in the first half, but Houston used a 12-4 run down the stretch to take a 37-22 lead into the locker room at the break.
In the second half, the Colonels used another quick start, scoring the second half's first eight points to pull to within 37-30. However, that would be as close as Nicholls State would get the rest of the way. Houston used a 12-3 run during the next three minutes to seize control of the contest.
Houston shot 46.5 percent from the field, hitting at least 45 percent of its shots in each half, and outrebounded the Colonels 45-40.
Making his Houston debut off the bench, junior forward Maurice McNeil recorded the team's first double-double with 10 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. Lewis added 18 points, including 11 in the second half, and hit all four of his 3-point attempts, while sophomore point guard Desmond Wade came off the bench total 13 points and five assists with only one turnover in 26 minutes.
Fred Hunter led Nicholls State (0-2) with 24 points and eight rebounds, while Philip Ward added 14 points in the loss. Franklin tallied 12 points with a pair of 3-pointers and swiped a team-high three steals.
The Cougars hit the road to start a 10-game stretch, starting at 10:05 p.m., Friday, when they meet Nevada in the Lawlor Events Center. From there, the team heads north to compete at the Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout, beginning at10:30 p.m. (CST), Thanksgiving against No. 17/17 Oklahoma.
The games can be heard live on 790 AM The Sports Animal or at UHCougars.com with Brett Dolan calling the play-by-play action. The pregame show is slated to start 15 minutes before tip-off.
** This was the first time that Houston faced Nicholls State in men's basketball.
** The Cougars improved to 45-19 during their season openers... The Cougars also improved to 35-8 during their season openers in front of the hometown fans... Houston also improved to 23-5 during season openers inside Hofheinz Pavilion.
** With Tuesday's win, head coach Tom Penders moved into a tie with Cam Henderson (Muskingum, Davis & Elkins, Marshall, 1902-55) for 28th place in NCAA Division I coaching history with 630 career victories.
** Head coach Tom Penders improved to 25-11 in season openers during his career... Penders also improved to 5-1 during season openers during his Houston career.
** With 18 points, senior guard Kelvin Lewis went over 1,000 points during his collegiate career... The Fort Worth, Texas, native scored 71 points at Auburn during the 2006-07 season and has scored 939 points in just more than two seasons at Houston for a total of 1,010 points.
** Freshman forward Kirk Van Slyke made the first start of his collegiate career.
** Junior forward Maurice McNeil, junior forward Kahmell Broughton, junior guard Adam Brown, freshman guard Nick Haywood, freshman forward Bryce Clark and junior guard Cory Tellis made their Houston debuts.