@UHCougarMBK
Cougars Drop First Game of Season at LSU

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Rob Gray scored 19 points and Damyean Dotson added 13, but it wasn't enough as the Houston Cougars suffered their first defeat of the 2016-17 season. Antonio Blakeney scored 23 points and LSU pulled away in the second half for an 84-65 non-conference victory on Tuesday.

Blakeney, whose fast-break layup with one second remaining gave the Tigers a 39-38 halftime advantage and led an 8-0 run which enabled LSU (5-2) to take control of the game early in the second half. Blakeney made two baskets, one a 3-pointer, as the Tigers went ahead 53-42 with 15:50 to play. Houston (5-1) did not trail by fewer than nine points the rest of the way.

Blakeney scored 14 points, hitting a season-high 10 field goals, and grabbed five of his eight rebounds in the second half.

''In the second half, we did a great job executing offensively,'' LSU coach Johnny Jones said. ''On the defensive end, we were getting stops. As the game continued, our guys did a tremendous job competing at a high level against one of the better teams we will face prior to conference.''

LSU shot 50 percent from the field (36-of-72), including 44 percent on 3-pointers (8-of-18). But, the difference in the game was on the backboards, where the Tigers outrebounded the Cougars 46-28. LSU turned 20 offensive rebounds into 23 second-chance points.

''Winning the war on the boards and getting second-chance points was a focus,'' Blakeney said. ''That's why coach (Jones) started sending me to the glass.

''Craig (Victor) and all the bigs were trying to get rebounds because we got beat on the boards in the Bahamas. We were just trying to correct our mistakes.''

Three LSU players besides Blakeney scored in double figures. Brandon Sampson had 16 points, all but two in the first half. Victor had 13 points and nine rebounds in his first start of the year. Aaron Epps, who was replaced by Victor in the lineup, had 11 points and seven rebounds.

Rob Gray was the top scorer for Houston with 19 points. Damyean Dotson added 13 points, while Devin Davis had 12. The Cougars were outscored 46-26 in the paint.

''We didn't play very well at all in any area in the first half, but we had a chance to get the lead,'' Houston coach Kelvin Sampson said. ''I didn't see a lot of pop tonight. Their size was a factor. We had three starters who did not get a defensive rebound. We have to be a rebounding team.''

BIG PICTURE

LSU: The Tigers lost two of three games last week at the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas, but remain unbeaten at home with their fourth straight victory. LSU, which blocked nine shots and made seven steals, lost 105-98 in overtime at Houston last season.

HOUSTON: The Cougars failed in their attempt to open a season 6-0 for just the fourth time in school history.


UP NEXT
Following Tuesday's game, the Cougars return to the friendly confines of Hofheinz Pavilion to play host to Prairie View A&M at 4 p.m., Saturday.


From there, the Cougars face their second straight SEC opponent on the road when they take on Arkansas at 6 p.m., Dec. 6, inside Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville, Ark.


TICKETS INFORMATION
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.

To join the 50-50 Club, fans can call 713-743-9742 or email UHMensBasketball@uh.edu. For more information about the 50-50 Club, levels of giving and benefits, fans can click here.


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#GoCoogs

#HTownTakeover


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