El Paso, Texas (Dec. 27) - Sophomore forward George Williams scored 19 points to lead the University of Houston men's basketball team to a 69-64 victory over Southeast Missouri State in the first round of the Sierra Providence SunClassic.
"I thought the key to the game was our strong defensive play and we had some guys step up and make some plays at the end of the game," Houston head coach Ray McCallum said.
The Cougars held the Indians to 36.6 percent shooting from the field and had a 42-33 rebounding edge.
The key plays down the stretch were made by Williams, Dominic Smith and Patrick Okafor as they combined to scored Houston's final 14 points.
The victory improved Houston's record to 3-7 this season, while Southeast Missouri State fell to 7-4.
Houston will meet Texas-El Paso in Thursday night's championship game at 10:00 p.m. (central). The Miners defeated Jackson State 101-81 in the other first round game. Southeast Missouri State will play Jackson State at 8:00 p.m. in the consolation game.