AP Sports Writer
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) (Nov. 17) - Chad Hendrick scored 25 points and Houston got a glimpse of what its two big newcomers can do in the Cougars' 77-52 victory over Mount Saint Mary's in the consolation game of the Black Coaches Association Classic on Friday night.
|Houston's Chad Hendrick, left, battles with Mount St. Mary's Keith Price (20) and Aaron Herbert for a loose ball during the first half at the Black Coaches Association Classic at the Lawrence Joel Coliseum in Winston Salem, N.C., Friday, Nov. 17, 2000. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)|
The victory was the first of the season for new Houston coach Ray McCallum, whose biggest coup so far has been getting the highly-recruited Ford to stay home and play for the Cougars.
Ranked as one of the Top 10 incoming freshmen, Ford is supposed to help the Cougars rebound from last years school-record 22 losses.
Slightly overlooked was the signing of Okafor _ another Houston local who had spent the past two seasons at Lee Junior College _ and what role he could play.
He showed what he can do Friday by teaming with Ford to give the Cougars a dominating inside presence that Mount Saint Mary's (0-2) couldn't overcome.
With Houston leading 42-37 with 12:30 to play, Okafor and Ford sparked a physical 18-3 run that sealed the victory.
Ford started the run with two free throws, Okafor had a layup and Ford hit a jumper to make it 48-40. After a Hendrick layup, Ford hit two more free throws.
After a Mount Saint Mary's turnover, Ford shot an ugly jumper that hit the right side of the glass. Okafor grabbed the rebound and slid to the other side of the basket for an easy layup and a 54-40 lead.
Hendrick then scored five quick points and Ford capped the run with a thunderous dunk that made it 61-40.
Keith Price led Mount Saint Mary's with 17 points.
The Mountaineers had a considerable size disadvantage that was only increased when 6-foot-8 forward Angel Rivera picked up his third foul and went to the bench after playing only three minutes of the first half.
That opened the door for Houston to dominate the glass while building a 31-22 halftime lead.