|Sam Houston State||40||33||73|
|3-Point Field Goals||6-12||3-15|
HOUSTON - Trailing for much of the game, the University of Houston men's basketball team used a late run to slip past Sam Houston during a 75-73 win Tuesday night inside Hofheinz Pavilion.
Sophomore forward Kendrick Washington took a Zamal Nixon pass on the block and banked in a layup with just 12 seconds to go to break a 73-73 tie. The Bearkats had a chance to tie the game, but senior guard Adam Brown broke up a pass and was fouled with just 0.3 seconds to go.
After missing the front end, Brown followed his coaches' instructions and deliberately missed the second attempt, preventing a long SHSU pass and tip-in that could have tied the game.
Washington came off the bench to post 10 points and six rebounds, while Brown led the Cougars with 21 points. Senior forward Maurice McNeil added 18 points and a game-high nine rebounds, while junior guard Darian Thibodeaux added 12 points, thanks to a career-high four 4-pointers. Nixon posted nine points with a career-high 11 assists in the win.
With the win, the Cougars improved to 7-5. In addition, Houston also swept the regular-season series against the Bearkats. The Cougars claimed a 75-71 win in overtime in Huntsville earlier this month.
After finishing 1-13 during games in which they trailed with five minutes or less remaining, the Cougars moved to 3-5 in those games in 2010-11.
Sam Houston State fell to 6-4.
Gilberto Clavell led all players with 25 points and tied for the team lead with seven rebounds. Josten Crow was the only other Bearkat to reach double-digit points, scoring 20 with 17 in the first half.
SHSU's Antuan Bootle gave the Bearkats a 67-65 lead with 5:08 remaining after converting a pair of free throws. That would be the last time SHSU would enjoy the lead as the Cougars used a 6-0 run during the next two minutes.
McNeil started the rally hitting 1-of-2 free throws and, following a SHSU missed 3-pointer, Brown buried his own trey to give the Cougars a 69-67 with 4:32 to go. It was Houston's first lead since holding a 26-24 advantage with 7:03 remaining in the first half.
After each team failed to score on its next possession, the Cougars forced a SHSU turnover and Brown was fouled with 3:11 remaining. The San Antonio, Texas, native calmly connected on both free throws to give the Cougars their biggest lead of the night.
Clavell's dunk with 2:53 remaining pulled the Bearkats back to within 71-69, but both teams hit a scoring drought. The scoreboard did not move until McNeil hit a layup with 1:19 remaining for a 73-69 Cougar lead.
Clavell was fouled just eight seconds later but made only one of his two free throw attempts for a 73-70 Cougar lead. Following a costly Cougar turnover, Clavell buried a jumper and was fouled, tying the game for the 14th and final time when he hit the free throw with 41.1 seconds to go.
The Cougars take a break from their schedule to enjoy the Christmas holiday. Houston doesn't return to action until 6 p.m., Dec. 30 inside Hofheinz Pavilion.
Fans can hear all Cougar men's basketball games live on SportsTalk 790 AM KBME with Tom Franklin calling the play-by-play action and Cougar legend Elvin Hayes serving as analyst.
Cougar men's basketball tickets are available now. Fans can choose from a variety of different ticket packages that best suit their needs, including the Weekend Package (8 Saturday home games) and the Conference USA Package (8 C-USA home games).
The Athletics Ticket Office also is offering a special holiday promotion for the final home game of 2010. For the Rogers State (Dec. 30) games, fans will receive two youth tickets (ages 3 through high school) for each adult ticket purchased.
Fans have several options when ordering their men's basketball tickets. They can visit the Athletics Ticket Office, located on the first floor of the Athletics/Alumni Center by the UH Fan Shop, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Fans also can call 713-GO-COOGS (462-6647) or click the Tickets tab at UHCougars.com to buy tickets today.
* With six 3-pointers, the Cougars recorded their 286th consecutive game with at least one trey.
* Brown recorded his team-leading fourth 20-point game of the season and the seventh of his career.
* With 11 assists, Nixon recorded his second game with double-digit assists and posted a career high... He topped his previous best of 10 assists against Alcorn State on Nov. 14.