HOUSTON - University of Houston senior guard Rob Gray led all players with 25 points and 11 assists, as the Cougars defeated No. 24 Baylor, 81-78, inside the Ferrell Center on Saturday afternoon.
Gray, who was a Preseason All-American Athletic Conference First-Team selection and named to the Jerry West Award Watch List earlier this month, connected on 7-of-14 shots from the field and 10-of-14 attempts from the free throw line in 34 minutes.
Both teams received waivers from the NCAA to play the exhibition game with all ticket sales going to Hurricane Harvey relief. With Texas Farm Bureau Insurance matching the ticket sales total, more than $20,000 was raised from Saturday's game for the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.
Under the leadership of Head Coach Kelvin Sampson, the Cougars jumped out to an 11-2 lead in the first four minutes. Baylor stormed back and grabbed a 31-27 lead -- its largest of the game -- when Nuni Omot buried a 3-pointer with just over four minutes remaining in regulation.
Playing to a 36-36 tie at halftime, the Bears jumped out early in the second half and enjoyed a 45-44 lead when Terry Maston connected on a jumper with 16-35 left. However, the Cougars used an 8-3 run over the next 3:21 to regain the lead. Making his collegiate debut, freshman forward Fabian White Jr. led the way with three points in the Houston run.
The two teams went back and forth from there with neither squad building more than a three-point lead. Baylor held a 62-61 lead when King McClure converted a pair of free throws with just under seven minutes remaining.
Again, the Cougars responded, using a 9-4 run over the next four minutes to build a lead they would never relinquish. Senior forward Devin Davis scored four points while Gray sank a layup and assisted on two buckets during that stretch.
Baylor cut the lead late but Gray drained four free throws in the final 18 seconds to ice the win.
After overcoming injuries that forced him to miss half of the 2016-17 season, Davis posted 16 points with four rebounds and a pair of assists. Making his Houston debut, junior point guard Corey Davis Jr. added 11 points -- thanks to three 3-pointers on four attempts -- with three assists. White led the Cougars with six rebounds, including three offensive boards.
Jo Lual-Acuil Jr. led Baylor with 18 points and added a game-high eight rebounds, while Manu Lecomte and Terry Maston totaled 17 points apiece with Lecomte's 10 assists pacing the Bears. McCure finished with 11 points in the losing effort.
The Cougars conclude their exhibition season when they play host to Angelo State at 3 p.m., Nov. 5, inside Health & PE Arena on the campus of Texas Southern. Fans should note that that game was a recent addition to the Cougars' schedule.
From there, the Cougars open the regular season when they meet McNeese at 7 p.m., Nov. 10, inside H&PE Arena.
Before either of those two games, the Cougars will host a special preseason event on Friday, Nov. 3. With the 50th anniversary of the Game of the Century coming in January 2018, the Cougars will host a panel of members of the 1967-68 team as part of a documentary to air on CBS Sports Network.
Members of the 1967-68 team, including Elvin Hayes and Don Chaney, will join host, CBS Sports broadcaster and UH alumnus Jim Nantz for a round-table discussion beginning at 7 p.m., Nov. 3, inside the Moores Opera House. Players and support staff members from the Game of the Century will share their memories about that game and the impact it still has on college basketball today.
Legendary sports broadcaster Dick Enberg -- who called the play-by-play action for the Game of the Century for TVS network -- and CBS Sports analyst Seth Davis also will join the panel.
Current Head Coach Kelvin Sampson also will join the event and offer his memories of that game. Sampson, his staff and student-athletes from the 2017-18 team will be recognized during the preseason event.
Tickets for the event are $250 with all proceeds benefitting the Houston Men's Basketball program as the team's annual fundraiser. Fans may purchase tickets by calling Lauren Sampson with the Men's Basketball Office at 713-743-0348 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fans also can visit uhcougars.com/gameofthecentury for more information.
Season tickets for 15 regular-season games and a Nov. 3 exhibition against Angelo State inside H&PE Arena on the campus of Texas Southern begin as low as $100.
Fans can purchase season tickets online at UHCougars.com/tickets or by calling the Athletics Ticket Office at 713-GO-COOGS (462-6647).
JOIN the 50-50 CLUB
Fans are invited to join the 50-50 Club to support Houston Men's Basketball. 50-50 Club members help fund program necessities and enhance the experience for our student-athletes.
Fans who join the 50-50 Club will receive embroidered team apparel, a signed basketball, invitations to practice, a tour of the $25 million Guy V. Lewis Development Facility, regular updates about the program and much more.
Fans can receive updates by following @UHCougarMBK on Twitter and catch up with the latest news and notes on the team by clicking LIKE on the team's Facebook and Instagram pages.