TONGLING, China – University of Houston guards Rob Gray Jr., and Damyean Dotson each enjoyed 20-point efforts to lead the Cougars to a 79-76 win over the Qingdao Doublestars on Monday night inside Tongling Sports Center.
Gray, Jr., led all players with 24 points, while Dotson added 20 points in the Cougars’ final game in China. With the win, the Cougars ended their competition schedule in China with a 3-1 record and clinched the best-of-3 series against the Doublestars after winning the final two games.
While the first three games were decided by 10 or more points in each contest, Monday’s contest was closer with the Cougars taking advantage of a surge midway through the fourth quarter to seize control.
Gray, Jr., proved to be a steady scorer all night, scoring eight points and the opening and final periods and adding six in the third quarter. The Forest City, N.C., native averaged 14.5 points per game and posted double-digit points in three of the four games in China.
Dotson finished with a team-high three 3-pointers and drained a trey in each of the first three quarters. He enjoyed his second double-digit outing on the China trip and averaged 13.8 points per game.
Gray, Jr., and Dotson also were leaders off the glass, each posting six rebounds in the win. Senior guard Eric Weary, Jr., led the team with seven rebounds, while freshman point guard Galen Robinson, Jr., and junior centers Kyle Meyer and Bertrand Nkali grabbed five boards each.
The game went back and forth early and moved into the fourth quarter with the Cougars clinging to a 56-54 advantage. Houston opened the final period in their final game in China on an 11-2 run to take a 67-56 lead on Gray, Jr.’s bucket with 7:38 left.
Robinson, Jr., started the rally with five points, including his lone three of the night, while Gray, Jr., totaled four points during the run. After a brief Qingdao run, the Cougars pushed their lead back to 75-64 with 3:36 remaining before the Doublestars scored eight straight points to move to within 75-72 with 64 ticks left on the clock.
Fortunately, junior guard Ronnie Johnson buried a key bucket, and Gray, Jr., sank his third and fourth straight free throws of the night with 12 seconds left to ice the victory.
Following their games schedule, the Cougars will enjoy several cultural sites on their trip. On Tuesday, the team will visit Yellow Mountain, an area renamed after the Yellow Emperor (Huang Di) in 747 AD. Several Buddhist temples have been built there, and it has become a tourist attraction with its beautiful scenery.
The team also will visit Xi Di Hong, a village built during the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127). Built in the shape of an ox, the village enjoys more than 900 years of history.
Both Yellow Mountain and Xi Di Hong have been registered as World Heritage Sites by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
The Cougars return to Houston on the evening of Aug. 20 with the first day of classes set for Aug. 24.
|Friday, Aug. 14||Houston 93, Chinese Junior National Team 83 (in Hefei)|
|Saturday, Aug. 15||Qingdao Doublestars 77, Houston 66 (in Taihu)|
|Sunday, Aug. 16||Houston 74, Qingdao Doublestars 64 (in Taihe)|
|Monday, Aug. 17||Houston 79, Qingdao Doublestars 76 (in Tongling)|
|Tuesday, Aug. 18||Tour of Yellow Mountain & team activities|
|Wednesday, Aug. 19||Tour of Xi Di Hong Village & team activities|
|Thursday, Aug. 20||Return to Houston|
Please note that China Standard Time is 13 hours ahead of Central Daylight Time. When it is noon, Thursday, in Houston, it is 1 a.m., Friday in Anhui Province, China.
Reserved 1 season tickets will soon be available for $250 per seat for all 18 regular-season home games, while Reserved 2 season tickets will sell for $150 per seat. As an added benefit this season, fans who purchase Reserved 1 Men's Basketball season tickets will receive the same number of Houston Women's Basketball season tickets FREE.
For the first time in 2015-16, fans also can purchase $99 Anytime season tickets. With Anytime season tickets, With Anytime season tickets, fans will receive one ticket for each of the 18 regular-season home games.
From there, fans can use their Anytime season tickets any way they like. They can use one ticket for each home game or take 17 friends to one home game or any combination in between.
As always, current University of Houston students are admitted free with valid IDs to Houston Men's Basketball games inside Hofheinz Pavilion. Fans can view a Hofheinz Pavilion map with season-ticket pricing by clicking here.
Houston fans can connect with Fan Experience Headquarters by phone or text, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., at 713-462-6647 and can purchase tickets online 24/7 at UHCougars.com/tickets.
Any deposit amount paid will be credited toward season-ticket costs once they go on sale. New season-ticket members who make a deposit will be contacted by a Houston Athletics Ticket Sales staff member to choose their seats.
Fans should also stay tuned to UHCougars.com and Houston Men's Basketball social media sites for the latest information about ticket sales.
ABOUT THE COUGARS
The Cougars return six lettermen and four starters from last year's team, which recorded 13 wins and knocked off defending national champion UConn inside Hofheinz Pavilion for the second consecutive year.
Battling injuries throughout the season, the Cougars enjoyed a late-season surge, winning four of their final five games, including the lone upset in the American Athletic Conference Championship First Round in Hartford, Conn.
Senior guard LeRon Barnes, the Cougars' lone 3-year letterwinners, returns after ranking among The American's top-10 leaders in both offensive and defensive rebounding, while senior forward Devonta Pollard enters the 2015-16 campaign as the Cougars' top returning scorer with 11.4 points per game.
Junior forward Danrad Knowles ranked third on the team in both scoring and rebounding, and senior guard L.J Rose looks for his third 100+ assist season while wearing the Scarlet and White.
Houston also welcomes the return of junior guard Ronnie Johnson and junior forward Bertrand Nkali to competition. Both players practiced with the Cougars but sat out the 2014-15 season after Johnson transferred from Purdue and Nkali missed the year with an injury.
The Cougars will be boosted by the addition of five newcomers to the team, including freshman guard Galen Robinson (Westbury Christian/Houston); sophomore guard Rob Gray, Jr. (Howard JC/Forest City, N.C.); junior guard Damyean Dotson (Oregon/Houston); junior forward Xavier Dupree (Paris JC/Houston) and junior center Kyle Meyer (Eastern Florida State College/Atlanta).
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.