Dec. 20, 2008
TOLEDO, Ohio - Senior center Marcus Cousin and junior guard Aubrey Coleman each recorded double-doubles to lead the University of Houston men's basketball team to a 71-63 win over Toledo on Saturday inside John F. Savage Arena.
Cousin finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds, playing all 40 minutes for his team-leading third double-double of the season, while Coleman added 15 points and a game-high 13 rebounds for the first of his career. The Houston native also added a career- and game-high seven steals.
With the Cougars leading 63-51 with less 6:25 remaining in the game, Coleman and Cousin combined to score the UH's final eight points from the field and the free throw line with each player posting four points apiece.
With the win, the Cougars won their seventh straight game and improved to 7-1. It tied with the 2007-08 and 1997-98 teams for the best start since 1991-92. Toledo dropped its third straight game and fell to 2-8.
The Cougars also grabbed a 3-2 lead in the all-time series against Toledo and won for the second straight time against the Rockets. Prior to Saturday's game, no team had won back-to-back games with only the home team winning in the series.
The Cougars held the lead for most of the game although the Rockets never allowed UH to pull away. In the first half, the two teams battled to a 12-12 tie before the Cougars used a 9-0 run over the next five minutes to take the lead for good. Junior guard Kelvin Lewis led the way with a pair of jumpers.
The Rockets rallied late in the first half to pull to within three at 33-30 on Ridley Johnson's jumper, but a layup by Cousin late in the first half gave the Cougars a 35-30 lead heading into the locker room.
The two teams traded field goals early in the final period before the Rockets pulled to within two at 43-41 on a free throw from Kent with 15:06 remaining in the game. Again, the Cougars used another run, rattling off 10 straight points, thanks in part to five points from junior forward Qa'rraan Calhoun and another trey from Lewis.
The Cougars would never lead by fewer than five points the rest of the way. Toledo trimmed the deficit to six points and 63-57 with 3:57 remaining on an old-fashioned 3-point play by Kent, but Coleman responded with an old-school 3-point play of his own to extend the Cougar lead.
The Rockets used one final run, scoring the next four points, to trim the Cougar advantage to 66-61 with 61 seconds remaining, but a Coleman free throw and the final four points from Cousin sealed the win for the Cougars.
Lewis led all players with 19 points, including three 3-pointers, and limited Tyrone Kent - the Rockets' leading scorer with 15.3 points per game entering Saturday - to only six points on 1-of-12 shooting from the field.
Freshman point guard Desmond Wade dished out six assists with only one turnover and added four steals in 33 minutes, while Calhoun added a 17 points, including a pair of treys
Jonathan Amos scored 16 points with six assists to lead the Rockets, while Johnson came off the bench to post 15 points. Anthony Byrd added 12 points in the losing effort, while Kent tallied a team-high eight rebounds.
UP NEXT FOR HOUSTON
After a break from competition for the Christmas holiday, the Cougars return to action at 5 p.m., Dec. 28 when they play host to Big 12 Conference member Iowa State inside Hofheinz Pavilion.
Fans can hear the game live on 790 AM The Sports Animal with Tom Franklin calling the play-by-play action and Willis Wilson providing analysis. The pregame show is slated to begin at 6:45 p.m.
From there, the Cougars play host to Massachusetts at 1 p.m., Dec. 30, inside Hofheinz Pavilion. Fans should note that the starting time of the UMass game recently was changed from earlier published schedules.
The time was moved up to accommodate those fans who wished to see the Cougar Basketball team play and still see the Cougar Football team face Air Force during the 2008 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth at 11 a.m., Dec. 31.
The UMass game also will be a part of Fan Appreciation Day with all fans being admitted free of charge. Seating will be available in all seats not sold to season-ticket holders.