LYNCHBURG, Va. - University of Houston junior guard Corey Davis Jr. grabbed the offensive rebound and banked in a layup with 0.3 seconds remaining to give the Cougars a 68-66 win over Liberty on the second day of the Paradise Jam inside the Vines Center on Saturday afternoon.
The two teams went back and forth throughout the game, which featured eight ties and 12 lead changes. Houston built a 66-63 lead with 23 seconds remaining after senior guard Wes VanBeck drained a pair of free throws.
However, on the ensuing possession, Liberty’s Georgie Pacheco-Ortiz drove the lane for a layup and was fouled with only 11 seconds remaining. After hitting the free throw to knot the game at 66-66, Houston Head Coach Kelvin Sampson called timeout.
With the clock winding down, senior forward Devin Davis put up a jumper that was short, but Corey Davis Jr. raced down the baseline, grabbed the loose ball and put up the game-winning shot with less than half a second left on the clock.
Liberty’s desperation heave at the buzzer was off the mark to give the Cougars their first win in the tournament.
The Flames jumped out to an early lead, but the Cougars used an 11-0 run late in the first half and took a 27-25 lead into the locker room at the break.
A day after scoring a career-high 37 points, senior guard Rob Gray led all players with 19 points on 7-of-15 shooting and added three rebounds and three assists. After being held to a lone 3-pointer in the first half, the Forest City, N.C., native scored 16 points in the second half, including 11 of the Cougars’ 15 points during a 5:17 stretch late in the game.
Senior guard Wes VanBeck added a career-high 18 points with a team-high three 3-pointers. The Houston native topped his previous best of 16 points against American Athletic Conference rival Tulsa on Jan. 4, 2017.
Five Flames scored in double digits with Pacheco-Ortiz leading Liberty with 16 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the field and 4-of-4 shooting from the free throw line. Ryan Kemrite, Scottie James, Lovell Cabill and Myo Baxter-Bell totaled 11 points apiece with James’ seven rebounds leading the team.
The Cougars close out the tournament when they face Wake Forest at 1:30 p.m. CST, in the Paradise Jam consolation title game. The Demon Deacons claimed a 72-55 win over Quinnipac on Saturday afternoon.
Fans can watch the game on FloHoops.com with Trevor Williams calling the play-by-play action and Andy Katz providing analysis. Fans can visit FloHoops.com and follow the appropriate links or click here. A subscription fee is required to watch the game on FloHoops.com.
Fans can hear Sunday’s game live on 950 AM KPRC with Jeremy Branham calling the play-by-play action. Fans also can hear the game online by visiting UHCougars.com/allaccess and following the appropriate links or by clicking here.
Sunday’s game will be only the second meeting between the Cougars and the Demon Deacons and the first since Houston claimed a 68-63 win in the NCAA Tournament Midwest Regional final to advance to the 1984 NCAA Final Four.
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).
JOIN the 50-50 CLUB
Fans are invited to join the 50-50 Club to support Houston Men’s Basketball. 50-50 Club members help fund program necessities and enhance the experience for our student-athletes.
Fans who join the 50-50 Club will receive embroidered team apparel, a signed basketball, invitations to practice, a tour of the $25 million Guy V. Lewis Development Facility, regular updates about the program and much more.
Fans can receive updates by following @UHCougarMBK on Twitter and catch up with the latest news and notes on the team by clicking LIKE on the team’s Facebook and Instagram pages.