UNCASVILLE, Conn. - University of Houston senior guard Rob Gray poured in 24 points to lead the Cougars to a 70-59 win over Providence during the Hall of Fame Holiday Showcase inside Mohegan Sun Arena on Wednesday afternoon.
Gray, who led the American Athletic Conference in scoring entering the game, posted his total on 7-of-16 shooting from the field and 9-of-11 from the free throw line. The Forest City, N.C., native posted his seventh 20-point game this season and the 32nd 20-point contest of his career.
For his impressive efforts Wednesday, Gray was named a Hall of Fame Holiday Showcase Most Valuable Player.
Leading 34-26 early in the second half, the Cougars used 22-9 run over a 6-minute stretch to build a 21-point lead against the Friars on the 52nd anniversary of the first meeting between the two schools.
Providence rallied and moved to within eight points on two occasions, but the Cougars had an answer each time. After the Friars trimmed the deficit to 62-54 with 4:30 remaining, Gray drew a foul and sank both free throws to push the Houston lead back to double digits.
The Friars sank a pair of free throw to move to within 64-56 with 2:33 left, but sophomore guard Armoni Brooks made his fourth and final steal of the night, and junior guard Corey Davis Jr. drained a jumper with just over a minute remaining to ice the win.
The two teams went back and forth early, and Providence grabbed a 15-13 lead when Isaiah Jackson sank a jumper with 10:18 left. Fortunately, the Cougars used a 13-2 run over the next 5:44 with sophomore guard Armoni Brooks draining a pair of 3-pointers to lead the way.
Houston finished its non-conference schedule with a 10-2 record, while the Friars dropped to 8-4. The Cougars outrebounded Providence 42-35 and connected on 42.1 percent of their shots from the field.
Junior point guard Galen Robinson Jr. posted 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting with three rebounds and a game-high six assists. Brooks came off the bench to post 12 points with four 3-pointers and grabbed four rebounds, while Corey Davis Jr. added 10 points with three rebounds and three assists.
Providence forward Rodney Bullock led the Friars with 24 points on 10-of-23 shooting and eight rebounds, while guard Jalen Lindsey totaled 11 points with three 3-pointers and four assists. Jackson added 10 points with five rebounds.
Following Wednesday's game, the Cougars return to action to open American Athletic Conference play at 6 p.m. (CST), Thursday, Dec. 28, at USF inside Sun Dome in Tampa, Fla... Game can be seen on ESPNews and heard on KPRC 950 AM.
Cougars open American play in Houston when they play host to Temple at 5 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 30, inside H&PE Arena... Game can be seen on ESPNU and heard on KPRC 950 AM.
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