TAMPA, Fla. - University of Houston junior guard Damyean Dotson sank five 3-pointers on the way to 17 points to lead the Cougars to a 73-67 win over South Florida inside the Sun Dome on Wednesday afternoon in the American Athletic Conference opener for both teams.
Dotson was one of three Cougars to finish with double-digit points. Senior forward Devonta Pollard totaled 20 points with four rebounds, five steals and a pair of rebounds, while sophomore guard Rob Gray, Jr., added 19 points with two assists.
With the win, the Cougars won their third straight game and improved to 11-2 this season and 1-0 in American Athletic Conference play. USF dropped to 3-11 overall and 0-1 in the league.
The Cougars took advantage of 20 USF turnovers and converted them into 29 points, including 18 in the second half alone. Under the leadership of point guards Ronnie Johnson and Galen Robinson, Jr., Houston gave the ball away only six times, leading to just three USF points.
After battling to a 34-34 tie at halftime, the Cougars held a 45-44 lead before scoring 10 consecutive points, capped by a pair of free throws from junior forward Danrad Knowles, for a 55-44 advantage with 12:03 left in the game.
When the Bulls moved to within 57-54 following Nehemias Morillo's 3-pointer with 8:09 left, the Cougars responded with nine of the next 11 points to push their lead back to 64-56 on a pair of Dotson free throws with just under five minutes remaining.
However, USF had one last rally and used a 10-3 run to move to within 67-66 on Bo Zeigler's dunk with 69 seconds left, putting the 2,754 USF fans in attendance on their feet.
On the ensuing possession, the Cougars patiently moved the ball around before hitting Dotson on the right baseline, where he sank his fifth and final trey of the day to silence the USF faithful and give the Cougars a 70-66 lead.
Gray then stole a pass from USF's Angel Nunez and, after being fouled, Johnson sank his last two free throw attempts of the day to ice the game for the Cougars.
Gray, who entered the game as The American's leading scorer, converted 8-of-13 tries from the free throw line and remains the only Cougar to score double digits in every game in which he has played this season. Pollard enjoyed the fourth 20-point game of his career and third this season after hitting 7-of-14 shots from the field. Johnson led all players with six assists and only one turnover in 24 minutes.
Perry led USF with 19 points and tied with teammate Jaleel Cousins for game-high honors with 10 rebounds. Jahmal McMurray posted 18 points, including five 3-pointers, and Morillo came off the bench to record 12 points.
Following Wednesday's game, the Cougars continue a busy week in American Athletic Conference play when they meet Temple at 11 a.m. (CST), Saturday, inside the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia.
That game can be seen on ESPNews with Dave Leno calling the play-by-play action and Tim Welsh providing analysis. Fans can hear the game live on KPRC 950 AM with Matt Thomas calling the play-by-play action.
Houston returns to the friendly confines of Hofheinz Pavilion when they play host to Tulane at 8 p.m., Tuesday, in American Athletic Conference play.
HOW TO ORDER TICKETS
Fans have a variety of ticket options to accommodate any budget. Season tickets, group tickets, single-game tickets and 3-Point Packs are on sale now. To purchase tickets or for complete information, fans can visit uhcougars.com/tickets and follow the appropriate links or click here.
Fans also can call 713-GO-COOGS (462-6647) or visit the Athletics Ticket Office from 10 a.m., to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. To purchase tickets in person, fans can visit the Athletics Ticket Office located on the northeast corner of TDECU Stadium, just outside of Gate 1 off Cullen Boulevard. Parking is available in the TDECU Stadium parking garage with the first 30 minutes free of charge.
Single-game tickets for Houston Men's Basketball's 2015-16 season begin at only $5 per game. Fans can purchase General Admission single-game tickets for only $5, while Reserved 2 seating is available for only $10 per game. Fans may buy Reserved 1 single-game tickets for $15 per ticket.
Fans can purchase single-game tickets by clicking here.
Fans can purchase three tickets to Houston home games in the 3-Point Pack. Reserved 1 seating for the 3-Point Pack can be purchased for $40 with Reserved seating available for only $30.
Fans can purchase the 3-Point Pack by clicking here.
Tickets for groups of 10-24 or more can be purchased for as low as $12 per ticket in Reserved 2 for 18 regular-season home games inside Hofheinz Pavilion. Groups of more than 25 people can buy Reserved 2 tickets for only $10 per ticket
Groups of 10-24 can buy tickets for only $10 per ticket in Reserved 2 with prices plummeting to only $6 per ticket for groups of 25 or more.
Administrators can find more information about group tickets seating and pricing by clicking here.
Fans can receive the latest news and notes by following @UHCougarMBK on Twitter. Fans also can discuss the latest Houston Men's Basketball news and notes on the team's Facebook page by clicking LIKE at HoustonCougarMensHoops.