HOUSTON - University of Houston senior guard Rob Gray led all players with 23 points and eight assists as the Cougars took a 75-66 win over New Orleans on Wednesday night inside H&PE Arena.
Gray, who led the Cougars and the American Athletic Conference with 23.8 points per game entering Wednesday, connected on 7-of-15 shots from the field and drained all eight tries from the free throw line for his third 20-point game of the young season and the 28th of his career.
The Forest City, N.C., native also set a career high with eight assists, topping his old mark of six against Temple on Jan. 2, 2016. In addition, Gray finished with three steals and no turnovers while playing 38 minutes.
The Cougars, who improved to 5-1 with the win, connected on 53.6 percent from the field in the first half to take a 38-31 lead into the locker room at the break.
However, the Privateers refused to yield and knotted the game at 48-48 when Travin Thibodeaux sank a layup with just 9:49 left in the game.
That's when guard Corey Davis Jr. and Armoni Brooks stepped up with the long-range attack. After a New Orleans turnover, Gray found Davis, who gave the Cougars the lead for good with a trey with 8:11 remaining.
Following a New Orleans missed shot, Gray connected with Davis again on another 3-pointer to give Houston a 54-48 lead with 6:33 left.
When the Privateers failed to score on their next possession, Brooks took a pass from Gray and buried it for a 57-48 Houston lead with 6:04 to go. Less than a minute later, Brooks drained another trey on a pass from freshman forward Fabian White Jr. to give the Cougars a 60-48 lead with 5:16 left.
Thibodeaux came off the bench to lead the Privateers with 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting. Guard Troy Green added 16 points with a game-high eight rebounds and a team-high six assists in the loss.
The Cougars continue their season-long, four-game homestand when they play host to Arkansas at 6:30 p.m., Saturday, inside H&PE Arena.
From there, the team wraps up the stand when they face Fairfield for the first time in school history at 11 a.m., Wednesday, Dec. 6).
Fans should note the starting time for the Fairfield game was recently moved up to 11 a.m., from earlier published schedules. The time was changed as part of Education Day with Houston Men's Basketball as the Cougars will compete in front of students from area Houston ISD schools.
Fans can purchase mini-plans, flex plans and single-game tickets with single-game tickets starting at only $12. Fans can purchase tickets online at UHCougars.com/tickets or by calling the Athletics Ticket Office at 713-GO-COOGS (462-6647).
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