ESTERO, Fla. - University of Houston junior guard Rob Gray led four Cougars in double digits with 23 points as the Cougars rolled to an impressive 93-56 win over George Mason on Monday evening inside Germain Arena.
Gray, who was a 2016 Preseason All-American Athletic Conference Second-Team selection, connected on 7-of-13 shots from the field and drained all six attempts from the free throw line for his second straight 20-point effort to open the 2016-17 season and the ninth 20-point game of his career.
The Cougars, who improved to 2-0, used a pair of big, first-half runs to claim their first victory over the Patriots. George Mason held a 6-3 advantage four minutes into the game, but the Cougars scored the game's next 10 points to take a 13-6 lead and never trailed again.
The Patriots moved to within 13-10 following Marquise Moore's layup with 11:54 remaining, but the Cougars erupted on a 20-5 run over the next six-and-a-half minutes and enjoyed a 34-15 lead when Gray buried a pair of free throws with 5:22 left in the first half.
Houston connected on at least 51 percent from the field in each half and buried nearly 54 percent of its 65 shots in the game. Meanwhile, the Cougars' defense limited the Patriots to only 34.6 percent shooting in the second half and outrebounding GMU 40-25 while forcing 14 turnovers.
Senior guard Damyean Dotson, who was a 2016 Preseason All-American Athletic Conference First-Team pick, finished with 16 points, thanks to a game-high four 3-pointers, while junior guard Wes VanBeck came off the bench to pour in 14 points with four treys of his own.
Senior forward Danrad Knowles posted 13 points, while junior forward Devin Davis added nine points with a game-high 10 rebounds in the win. Sophomore point guard Galen Robinson Jr. led all players with 10 assists in the win.
Moore led George Mason with 15 points and five rebounds, while Otis Livingston II totaled 10 points with a pair of assists. The Patriots fell to 1-3 this season.
With Monday's win, the Cougars will now face South Dakota in the Gulf Coast Showcase Semifinals. The Coyotes were an 80-77 winner over Kent State earlier Monday night.
The Cougars wrap up their stay at their tournament on Wednesday with opponent and game time being determined by Tuesday's result.
Following the Gulf Coast Showcase, Houston returns to the friendly confines of Hofheinz Pavilion to play host to Cornell at 4 p.m., Saturday.
Season tickets, single-game tickets, mini-plans and group ticket packages are available to accommodate all budgets. Fans can visit uhcougars.com/tickets, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and follow the appropriate links or call 713-GO-COOGS (462-6647) to order tickets.
Current University of Houston main campus students are admitted FREE to all Men's Basketball games with valid IDs. Main campus students may purchase up to two (2) student guest tickets to each Men's Basketball game for $8 each, based on availability.
For as low as $80, fans can purchase season tickets to all 16 regular-season game plus two exhibition contests during the final season inside Hofheinz Pavilion. Reserved 2 seating is available for only $130, while fans can enjoy Reserved 1 seating for $225.
Single game tickets begin at only $12 for American Athletic Conference games and $10 for non-conference games.
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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.
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