Dec. 21, 2013
HOUSTON (AP) - TaShawn Thomas had 16 points and 10 rebounds as the Houston Cougars rallied for a 54-52 win over the Rice Owls Saturday.
Thomas scored six of Houston's final nine points in the last 2:12 to lead the Cougars.
Austin Ramljak led the Owls with 15 points on 5 of 9 from behind the arc, while Seth Gearhart had nine points and nine rebounds and Sean Obi added nine points and seven rebounds.
Rice hit 10 of 26 from behind the arc but just 4 of 13 from 3-point range in the second half. The Owls shot 30.5 percent from the field.
Houston regained the lead on a three-point play by Thomas with 2:12 to go and upped the lead to 49-46 on another Thomas free throw with 1:50 left.
Ramljak missed a 3-pointer with 1:25 to go, and Jherrod Stiggers hit a jumper on the other end with 57 seconds left to open up a five-point lead.
Ramljak nailed a 3-pointer with 38 seconds remaining to cut the lead to 51-49, and Thomas responded with a layup to increase Houston's lead to four with 26 seconds left.
Keith Washington drove for a layup on Rice's ensuing possession, but Thomas blocked his shot with 16 seconds left. Morris stole the inbounds pass and was fouled but missed both free throws with 14 seconds left.
Max Guercy missed a 3-pointer with 8 seconds left, and Jaaron Simmons made one of two free throws to seal the win.
Trailing 44-38 with 9 minutes left, the Owls used an 8-1 run to grab a 46-45 lead on a Sean Obi jumper in the paint with 2:56 remaining.
The Cougars raced to a 37-28 lead with 15:50 remaining on a Thomas jumper, capping an 8-1 spurt in which Thomas had four points.
Rice jumped to a 17-6 lead in the first 7 1/2 minutes of the game, capped by an Ramljak 3-pointer with 12:34 left in the first half. Ramljak scored nine straight points in the stretch, connecting on three 3-pointers.
Houston responded with a 15-3 run to take a 21-20 lead with 5:45 remaining in the opening half on a LeRon Barnes free throw. Barnes had five points in the run.
The Cougars would take a 29-27 lead into halftime following a circus reverse layup by Jimmie Jones with 36 seconds remaining.
The Cougars will take some time off from their schedule for the Christmas holidays before returning to action. Houston doesn't return to the friendly confines of Hofheinz Pavilion until 8 p.m., Dec. 31, against No. 10/10 UConn in the first American Athletic Conference game for both programs.
General Admission season tickets start for as low as $195, while Reserved season tickets start at only $280. Families can purchase the Memorial Hermann Family Fun Plan of two adult and two youth General Admission tickets for only $399.
Fans who purchase season tickets will receive a free Guy V. Lewis bobblehead later this season. Lewis was a legendary coach for the Cougars from 1956-86, compiling nearly 600 wins with five NCAA Final Four appearances, and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in September.
Mini-plans also are on sale now. In the Conference Mini-Plan, fans can buy tickets to all nine American Athletic Conference home games, including defending national champion Louisville, Cincinnati, Memphis and UConn, with General Admission seating starting at $120 and Reserved Seating selling for $165.
With the 6-Pack, fans receive tickets for all four weekend home conference games against Rutgers, SMU, Temple and UCF, the Feb. 5 showdown against Louisville and a choice of the UConn, Cincinnati or Memphis games with General Admission seating for only $80 and Reserved Seating for $110.
Fans can purchase season tickets or mini-plans by visiting or calling the Athletics Ticket Office at 713-Go-COOGS (462-6647) or 877-COUGAR-5 (268-4275) or by clicking here.
To secure parking spaces and to support student-athlete scholarships through Cougar Pride for the upcoming season, fans should contact Cougar Pride at 713-743-GoUH or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Fans also can visit UHCougars.com and click the Cougar Pride tab for more information.