Cougars Defeat Southwest Texas State 73-59

HOUSTON, Texas- Using a stifling defense and a balanced offensive attack the University of Houston men's basketball team defeated Southwest Texas State 73-59 in Hofheinz Pavilion.

Houston's strong defensive effort is becoming a trademark for the Cougars in 2000-01 under first-year head coach Ray McCallum. UH held Southwest Texas State to just 33.9 percent (19-56) shooting from the field, including 31.8 percent (7-22) beyond the three point line.

Sophomore forward George Williams scored a game-high 20 points to lead Houston as three Cougars scored in double figures. In addition to Williams, junior guard Bernard Smith tallied a career-high 12 points and freshman forward Alton Ford added 10 points and six rebounds despite playing just 25 minutes due to foul problems. "I was please with the way we came out tonight," said McCallum. "I thought we showed a lot of energy and enthusiasm while making some nice runs in the game."

One of those runs came in the final five minutes of the first half when Houston outscored Southwest Texas State 13-4 to open up a 39-26 lead with 1:20 left to play in the opening period.

Clay Click scored a layup and two free throws to pull Southwest Texas State to within 39-30 at half-time.

Houston shot 57.1 percent (16-28) from the field in the first half despite making just one of their six three-point attempts.

Williams scored 14 of his 20 points in the opening and Smith and Ford added 10 points each as they combined for 34 of Houston's 39 points in the first half.

In the second half, Ford was forced to the bench when he picked up three fouls in the first five minutes of the period. He was forced to sit the next six minutes on the bench as Houston went to a smaller lineup with Dominic Smith moving to the point guard position and Williams moving inside to the power forward spot.

After Dominic Smith made a layup, Williams scored on a jumper from the free throw line and made a perfect pass to Patrick Okafor for a layup. Okafor was fouled on the play and made a free throw to give Houston a 49-37 lead with 12:59 left to play.

The two teams traded baskets during the next five minutes as the Cougars led 57-45 with 8:13 left to play. Southwest Texas State made an 8-0 run after two treys by Slaven Smiljanic and two free throws by Dain Ervin to close to within 57-53 with 6:32 left to play.

But, the Cougars went on a 11-3 run during the next four minutes to put the game out of reach for the Bobcats.

The win improved Houston's season record to 2-2, while Southwest Texas State fell to 1-2 this season.

The Cougars will play two games in a span of three days next week when the Houston plays host to LSU on November 28 at 7:00 p.m. and travels to Connecticut on Thursday, November 30.

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