|NW Oklahoma State||25||33||58|
|3-Point Field Goals||7-13||5-21|
|NW Oklahoma State||Points||Rebounds||Assists|
HOUSTON - Senior forward Maurice McNeil posted a game-high 16 points to lead five Cougars in double digits during an 81-58 win against Northwestern Oklahoma State on Saturday afternoon inside Hofheinz Pavilion.
After playing a close game early, the Cougars used a 13-4 run during a near-8-minute stretch midway through the first half to build a double-digit lead they would relinquish for only five seconds during the rest of the game. When the Rangers moved to within 31-23 late in the first half, Houston exploded on an 11-2 run to close out the first 20 minutes and never led by fewer than 12 points the rest of the way.
The Cougars used hot shooting throughout the first half to build a 42-25 lead. Houston connected on 16-of-25 shots in the opening period and finished the day hitting 50.9 percent (29-of-57) in the game.
It marked the third time through the first four games this season that the Cougars hit better than 50 percent from the field. A year ago, Houston reached the 50 percent mark four times in 35 games.
McNeil, a native of New York, posted his point total on 5-of-10 shooting from the field and added a game-high 10 rebounds for his third double-double of the season through the first four games. Junior guard Darian Thibodeaux added 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting in his third straight game with double-digit points, while sophomore forward Kendrick Washington added 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting with three assists.
Sophomore forward Kirk Van Slyke added 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting with five rebounds in the win. Senior guard Zamal Nixon continued his recent stellar all-around play, scoring 10 points with a game-high eight assists, five rebounds and two steals in 30 minutes.
With the win, the Cougars improved to 3-1 overall, while NWOSU fell to 4-1.
NWOSU forward Orren Tims led the Rangers with 19 points and seven rebounds. No other Ranger player totaled more than eight points in the contest.
The Cougars continue their brief homestand when they meet Louisiana-Lafayette at 7 p.m., Tuesday.
From there, the team starts a three-game road swing beginning at 3 p.m., Saturday, against TCU in Fort Worth, Texas. The team then will play at LSU (Nov. 30) and at Sam Houston State (Dec. 4).
Fans can hear all Cougar men's basketball games live on SportsTalk 790 AM KBME.
Fans can choose from a variety of different ticket packages that best suit their needs, including the Weekend Package (8 weekend home games) and the Conference USA Package (8 C-USA home games).
Fans have several options when ordering their men's basketball 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 first time that Houston played Northwestern Oklahoma State.
* Head coach James Dickey competed in his first game against Northwestern Oklahoma State... Northwestern Oklahoma State is the 73rd different opponent that Dickey has faced during his career.
* With seven 3-pointers, the Cougars recorded their 278th consecutive game with at least one trey.