ESTERO, Fla. - Junior forward Devin Davis banked in a layup as time expired to lift the University of Houston Men's Basketball program to a 72-71 win over Vermont in the Gulf Coast Showcase championship game on Wednesday evening inside Germain Arena.
Trailing 71-67 with 1:24 remaining, the Cougars moved to within a point when junior guard Wes VanBeck drained a 3-pointer from the baseline with 55 seconds left in the game.
After a missed Vermont shot and Houston defensive rebound on the ensuing possession, the Cougars called timeout, but junior guard Rob Gray's baseline jumper was off the mark, and the Cougars were forced to foul when Vermont forward Kurt Steidl grabbed the defensive rebound with only seven seconds left.
Fortunately, Steidl missed the front end of the 1-and-1 after draining his first eight free throw tries to open the season. Sophomore point guard Galen Robinson Jr. snared the defensive rebound but was fouled near midcourt with the Cougars still under the bonus in fouls.
Senior guard Damyean Dotson received the inbounds pass and drove the lane before dishing to Davis, who banked the game-winning shot just as the buzzer sounded to give the Cougars their first regular-season championship since 1991.
Houston led by as many as 12 points late in the first half and enjoyed a 37-26 lead at the break. However, the Catamounts used a long-range attack to build a 71-67 lead on Ernie Duncan's jumper with 1:24 remaining. Vermont finished with 14 3-pointers in the game, including nine on 17 attempts in the second half alone.
Dotson scored eight points with three rebounds, two assists and a pair of steals and was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player. Gray led all players with 20 points, including 14 in the second half, and five assists and was named to the All-Tournament Team.
Senior forward Danrad Knowles posted 11 points with four rebounds, while Davis finished with 10 points and a game-high seven rebounds to lead the Cougars to their fourth straight win to open the season.
Duncan led four Catamounts in double digits with 17 points, including 13 in the second half. Steidl finished with 16 points and five rebounds, while Trae Bell-Haynes added 14 points with three assists. Payton Henson recorded 11 rebounds and led Vermont with seven rebounds, three assists and two steals.
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.
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.
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