Houston Roundball Review: Men's Hoops

This is The Houston Roundball Review's (www.TheHRR.com) blog for men's basketball. The HRR began in 1994 and has been media credentialed to cover college and pro basketball -- since 1997. Member of the United States Basketball Writers Association.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

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Coogs a 13 Seed -- w/ video (still no picture thumbnail)

The last time the Houston Cougars were in the NCAA Tournament I was a sophomore at the University of Houston.

That was 1992.

After defeating Texas El-Paso on Saturday to earn the automatic bid to the NCAA Championship as the C-USA Champs, Sunday evening the Cougars learned they will be the 13th seed in the Midwest (St. Louis) Region.

The Coogs will play their opening round game in Spokane, WA, versus the 4th-seed...the Maryland Terrapins, Friday, March 19.

Check out the reaction of the team when the announcement is made. Wait for it. Wait for it.

Wait for it...

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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Coogs win C-USA and headed to the Big Dance

The Houston Cougars pulled off the improbable and defeated #1-seed Texas-El Paso 81-73 in the final game of the Conference USA Championship Saturday afternoon. Houston senior Kelvin Lewis scored a game-high 28 points (11-15 from the field including 6 for 10 from three-point range).

The win is improbable because the Cougars won for the fourth time in four straight days. The Cougars did not four consecutive games during the regular season.

With the win, the Cougars earn the automatic bid to the NCAA Championship as the C-USA Champion. The Cougars return to NCAA's "Big Dance" for the first time since 1992.

The Cougars will learn their seed; first round opponent; and location of the game tomorrow, around 5 p.m. CDT, when the "Field of 65" is announced.
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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Update on Area Teams in Conference Tournaments

UPDATED, 3/13/10, 11:12 p.m. -- UH wins C-USA. Sam Houston State wins Southland Conference.
TSU and HBU lose in respective conference finals Saturday night.

Here's an update on how the college teams in and around Houston have done thus far in their respective conference championships.

March 11, the Rice Owls led the Tulsa Golden Hurricane at halftime; but, could not hold on in the second half as Tulsa defeated the Owls, 73-62, in a first round game of the 2010 C-USA Championship.

The Houston Cougars defeated East Carolina Wednesday afternoon, 93-80, in a first round game; then, the Cougars topped 2nd-seed Memphis, 66-65, to advance to the semifinals of the C-USA Championship. UH (7th-seed) defeated 6th-seed Southern Miss, 74-66, March 12.

The Cougars won the C-USA Championship and earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament Saturday with an 81-73 victory over top-seed Texas-El Paso.

Houston Baptist University defeated 7th-seed Chicago State, 80-77, Wednesday night in a first round game of the inaugural Great West Conference Championship. The Huskies defeated NJIT, 74-64, March 12, in the second semifinal game.

The Huskies were defeated by #1-seed South Dakota, 91-86, Saturday night. South Dakota receives the automatic bid in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.

Sam Houston State edged 8th-seed Nicholls, 62-57, Wednesday, in a quarterfinal game of the Southland Conference Championship. The top-seeded Bearkats defeated 4th-seed Southeastern Louisiana, 88-85, March 11, in the second semifinal matchup.

The Bearkats rolled past #2-seed Stephen F. Austin, 64-48, Saturday afternoon to earn the Southland Conference's automatic berth in the Men's NCAA Championship.

The Texas A&M Aggies beat 12th-seed Nebraska, 70-64, in a quarterfinal game of the Big 12 Championship. The Aggies lost to #1 Kansas, 79-66, March 12. 

Prairie View A&M was blasted by rival Texas Southern, 66-49, in the final quarterfinal game of the SWAC Championship.

TSU defeated 8th-seed Grambling State, 60-57, March 12. 

The Tigers lost to Arkansas-Pine Bluff Saturday evening, 50-38, in the SWAC Championship game.
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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

SWAC Quarterfinals available on SWAC.org

BOSSIER CITY, LA - The Southwestern Athletic Conference will video stream the first two days of the Farmers Insurance SWAC Basketball Tournament live free of charge at http://www.swac.org/.

All eight quarterfinal games (four women's, four men's) will be streamed live on the official Conference website. Audio will be provided by the Heritage Sports Radio Network (HSRN), which will do a live national radio broadcast of all 14 tournament games at http://www.hsrn.com/.

"We are excited to bring the quarterfinals of the 2010 Farmers Insurance SWAC Basketball Tournament live to our fans via www.swac.org," SWAC Commissioner Duer Sharp said. "We have great matchups to kick off this year's tournament with a host of rivalry games in the opening round in an outstanding facility. Our great fans around the country who can't make it to Shreveport / Bossier City can catch all the action live on their computer."

The CenturyTel Center is the new home for the Farmers Insurance SWAC Tournament, which kicks off Wednesday at Noon with #2 seed Prairie View A&M taking on #7 seed Alabama St. in women's action.

ESPNU will broadcast the SWAC Championship game Saturday, March 13, at 7:30 p.m. CST.

Quarterfinal games - all streamed live at http://www.swac.org/

Wednesday, March 10
2:30 p.m. -- #2 Univ. Arkansas-Pine Bluff vs. #7 Miss. Valley St.
8 p.m. -- #1 Jackson St. vs. #8 Grambling St.

Thursday, March 11
2:30 p.m. -- #3 Alabama St. vs. #6 Alabama A&M
8 p.m. -- #4 Prairie View A&M vs. #5 Texas Southern
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Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Sam Houston State's Clavell and Coach Marlin Earn SLC Honors

Sam Houston State's 14-2 regular-season conference record (in the Southland Conference) earned the team the number one seed in the Southland Conference Championship as well as some top notch individual honors.

Gilberto Clavell, junior forward, was named the Southland Conference Newcomer of the Year. Head coach Bob Marlin earned conference Coach of the Year honors; and, in addition to Clavell, two other Bearkats (senior guards Ashton Mitchell and Corey Almond) were named to the All-Southland Conference First Team.

Clavell not only helped Sam Houston State win its third regular-season conference championship, but also helped it reach the Southland tournament for the eighth consecutive season as well. The junior from Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, averaged 16.9 points and 6.5 rebounds per game to lead the Bearkats. Clavell, a transfer from Collin County Community College, paced the Bearkats in scoring 13 times this season and had 11 20-point games. He topped 30 points three times, scoring 34 in a win at Auburn in December and a season-high 35 in the regular-season finale against Texas State.

Marlin earned his third coach of the year honor after guiding Sam Houston State to its third regular-season conference championship. Now in his 12th season in Huntsville, he also was voted coach of the year in 2000 and 2003 after guiding the Bearkats to regular-season championships, as well. With a 22-7 overall record, Sam Houston State is one of 51 programs in the country to have won at least 20 games in four of the last five seasons. Marlin is 222-130 with the Bearkats and has a 16-year career record of 345-165.

The 2010 State Farm Southland Conference Basketball Tournament will be played this week at the Leonard E. Merrell Center. Four men's quarterfinal games will be played Wednesday beginning at noon with semifinal games Thursday at 6:05 p.m. and approximately 8:33 p.m. The championship game will be played Saturday at 3:05 p.m. and televised on ESPN2.

The complete list of the All-Southland Conference Teams and the individual award winners is posted here.
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Monday, March 08, 2010

Houston's Aubrey Coleman Named to C-USA All-Conference First Team

Houston senior guard Aubrey Coleman has been a bright spot in a mediocre season for the Cougars; and, because of his efforts during the 2009-2010 regular season, Coleman was named to Conference USA All-Conference First Team.

Coleman leads the Cougars, Conference USA and the nation with 26.0 points per game. He has posted nine 30-point games, including a career-high-tying 38-point effort at Tulane on Saturday during the regular-season finale, and is tied for fourth in Houston history with 12 30-point games during his career.

He already ranks 15th on the school's career scoring chart with 1,400 points in only 62 games and needs only 36 more points to become the greatest two-year scorer in Houston history.

Although known for his offensive prowess, Coleman also is a leader on the defensive side of the court. He leads the league and ranks second in the country with 2.7 steals per game and tops the Cougars with 7.5 rebounds per game, good enough to rank eighth in the league.

Four other guards joined AC on the First Team: senior Ben Uzoh of Tulsa; juniors Elijah Millsap of UAB and Randy Culpepper of UTEP, and sophomore Elliot Williams of Memphis.

Here's the entire list:

Aubrey Coleman, Houston, G, 6-4, 200, Sr., Houston, Texas
Randy Culpepper, UTEP, G, Jr., 6-0, 165, Jr., Memphis, Tenn.
Elijah Millsap, UAB, G, Jr., 6-6, 211, Grambling, La.
Ben Uzoh, Tulsa, G, 6-3, 200, Sr., San Antonio, Texas
Elliot Williams, Memphis, G, 6-5, 180, So., Memphis, Tenn.

Derrick Caracter, UTEP, F, 6-9, 275, Jr., Fanwood, N.J.
Gary Flowers, Southern Miss, F, 6-8, 214, Jr., Dallas, Texas
Jerome Jordan, Tulsa, C, 7-0, 245, Sr., Kingston, Jamaica
Hassan Whiteside, Marshall, F, 6-11, 235, Fr., Gastonia, N.C.
Tyler Wilkerson, Marshall, F, 6-8, 240, Sr., Lexington, Ky.

Papa Dia, SMU, F, 6-9, 235, Jr., St. Louis, Senegal
Aaron Johnson, UAB, G, 5-8, 175, Jr., Chicago, Ill.
Derek Williams, SMU, G, 6-1, 170, Sr., Jamaica, N.Y.
Wesley Witherspoon, Memphis, F/G, 6-9, 210, So., Atlanta, Ga.
Brock Young, East Carolina, G, 5-11, 175, Jr., Raleigh, N.C. 
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Sunday, March 07, 2010

Area teams set for conference Championships

UPDATED -- 3/9/10, 9:57 A.M.

Championship Week has been in full swing across the country for a few days; however, for the teams in Houston and the surrounding area, Championship Week starts Wednesday, March 10, as the Houston Cougars (the number 7-seed) will play East Carolina (10th seed) at noon in the first game of the 2010 C-USA Championship in Tulsa, OK.

The Sam Houston State Bearkats (top seed) will play 8th seed Nicholls Wednesday, March 10, at 6 p.m. in the 2010 Southland Conference Championship at the Merrell Center located in Katy, TX.

The Rice Owls (12th seed) face the Tulsa Golden Hurricane (5th seed) Wednesday, March 10, at 6 p.m. in another opening round of the 2010 C-USA Championship.

The Texas A&M Aggies (4th seed) will play the winner of the Missouri (5th seed) / Nebraska (12th seed) game on Thursday, March 11, at 2 p.m. in a quarterfinal matchup in the 2010 Big 12 Championship taking place in Kansas City, MO.

The Prairie View A&M Panthers (4th seed) will play Texas Southern (5th-seed) Thursday, March 11, at 8 p.m., in Bossier City, LA, in the quarterfinals of the 2010 Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Championship Tournament. (This game will be third meeting between the two teams this season. PV won the previous to match-ups by five points each game.)

The Houston Baptist University Huskies (2nd seed) will face Chicago State (7th seed), Wednesday, March 10, at 6pm, in the 2010 Great West Conference Basketball Championship in Orem, UT.
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All-Big 12 Awards Announced

Oklahoma State standout James Anderson has been named Big 12 Player of the Year and leads the 2010 edition of the All-Big 12 Men's Basketball honors, it was announced. Cole Aldrich (Kansas) earned Defensive Player of the Year recognition for the second straight season, while Ekpe Udoh (Baylor) is the top newcomer. Alec Burks (Colorado) is the Freshman of the Year, while Jamar Samuels (Kansas State) earns the Sixth Man Award. Samuels’ coach, Frank Martin, is the Big 12 Coach of the Year.

The entire list of the announced awards (including All-Big First, Second, and Third Team; All-Rookie; All-Defense) is found here.
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Saturday, March 06, 2010

Owls lose to UCF on Senior Day

HOUSTON, TX -- The Rice Owls forced the UCF Knights to commit 22 turnovers thanks to picking up 16 steals; however, the Owls still lost to UCF 66-59 in front of an announced crowd of 1,899 fans gathered inside Tudor Fieldhouse on Senior day.

Rice (8-20 overall, 1-15 in C-USA) shot 11 for 26 from the free throw line. Yes, that's correct. 11 for 26.

"How do I not talk about today's game without looking at the free throw stat," said Ben Braun, Owls head coach. "You know it's unfortunate because if we make our free throws, or convert even half or a little bit more, we have a chance, really a pretty good chance to win this game. It's frustrating because we worked hard to get the line; and, we don't pake UCF (14-16, 6-10) pay. You gotta make teams pay. It's frustrating because I know our guys are good free throw shooters."

The Owls brickfest from the foul line started in the first half with a 6 for 17 performance in the opening 20 minutes. Rice trailed UCF 32-25 at halftime.

Despite allowing UCF to shoot 63.2% (12 for 19) from the field in the first half and the poor foul shooting, the Owls stayed close because they forced the Knights to turn the ball over 15 times.

Connor Frizzelle, sophomore guard, scored 11 points (4 for 9 from the field including 2 for 4 on three-point shots) in the opening half; however, Frizzelle contributed to the woes from the foul line by making just 2 of his 4 attempts.

"Personally, shooting them, you shoot it and I felt good about it and it doesn't go in," Frizzelle said after the game. "You just feel like 'man'; so, everybody on the team is like 'well at least hit one of them'. When you're not shooting them and you see it, you're like 'man'. It's just a missed opportunity."

Trailing 38-30 early in the second half, Owls senior forward Cliff Ghoram scored four straight points to kick start a 12 to 3 run to give Rice its first lead of the ball game at 42-41 with 11:32 remaining in the ball game.

UCF's Marcus Jordan quickly drained a three-point bucket to put the Knights in front once again. The Knights stretched the lead to six points (50-44) before Frizzelle converted a three-point play to cut the Owls' deficit in half.

Three minutes later, Ghoram drained a jump shot to tie the game at 52 with 6:51 remaining.

The Owls went ahead (57-55) on a steal and fast-break dunk by freshman forward Arsalan Kazemi at the 4:04 mark; however, a missed assignment left UCF's Taylor Young wide open and Young drained a three-point bucket for a one point UCF lead (58-57).

"I'll take blame for the breakdown," said Ghoram. "I was supposed to trap. Help trap up top. That was the assignment. I had a breakdown where I went under the screen; and, they rotated and knocked down the open shot. We had a couple missed assignments. Little things we could have done better. If we would have shot our free throws better, we could have made the game easier for us."

Frizzelle added, "Everybody has missed assignments. I did. I think that's just the game of basketball. Everybody messes up. It's just how you react. It just so happened that ours happened at the end of the game; but, I think, overall, our defensive intensity and the way we played was aggressive. We were actually in to the game. We were trying to 'd' up. I felt like everybody was trying to play as hard as they could."

Frizzelle scored a layup after picking off a bad pass and tied the game at 62; but, once again, the Knights answered.

UCF's sophomore guard A.J. Rompza splashed a three-point bucket with 1:09 on the clock to give the Knights the lead for good.

Frizzelle scored a game-high 19 points for the Owls and Ghoram added 13 points in his final Rice Owls' home game.

"It was a proud feeling to have my parents here (today)," Ghoram concluded.
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Big 12 Awards Announcement

From the Big12:

The official 2009-10 All-Big 12 Men's Basketball honors will be released INDIVIDUALLY on Big12Sports.com in 10-minute increments on Sunday, March 7, beginning at 11:00 a.m. CST.

Schedule of 2009-10 All-Big 12 Men’s Basketball Awards

(All Times Central)

11:00 a.m. ---- Coach of the Year
11:10 a.m. ---- Newcomer of the Year
11:20 a.m. ---- Sixth Man of the Year
11:30 a.m. ---- Freshman of the Year
11:40 a.m. ---- Defensive Player of the Year
11:50 a.m. ---- Player of the Year
12:00 p.m. ---- All-Rookie Team
12:10 p.m. ---- All-Defensive Team
12:20 p.m. ---- All-Big 12 First, Second, Third and Honorable Mention Teams
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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

UH's Tom Penders after Coogs Beat Rice - with Video

HOUSTON, TX -- The Houston Cougars defeated the Rice Owls 78-70 Wednesday night in front of 3456 fans. Some UH fans may be surprised or disappointed in the narrow margin of victory; but, when you're under .500 in conference, a win is a win.

The Cougars improve to 15-14 overall and 7-8 in C-USA.


The Cougars led the Owls 39-31 at halftime thanks to UH's committing nine first half turnovers. The Owls (8-21, 1-14) shot just 29.0% (9 for 31) from the field and turned the ball over nine times.

The Cougars stretched the lead to 14 points (60-46) with 12:36 left in the second half; however, missed shots; long rebounds; and poor transition defense enabled the Owls to capitalize and go on a 17-2 run to take a 63-62 lead with 7:33 on the game clock.

Houston senior Kelvin Lewis made a three-point shot to give the lead back to the Cougars (65-63); then, the Cougars cranked up the defense which helped them finish the game with 13-7 run and pull out the eight point victory.

After the game, Houston head coach Tom Penders said, "It was the kind of game I expected in terms of competitiveness. I thought we were a little loose with the ball. We made nine turnovers at halftime which is something like what we're averaging.

"Rice did a great job. I knew they would. They gave us a lot of problems with their smaller line up. They used a lot more speed than they did the first time that we played them; so, we had a lot more trouble getting dribble penetration on them we got quite easily the first time we played.

"You know you were going to the get their best game. It was the kind of game that I expected."

The Cougars close out the regular season Saturday evening with a road game versus Tulane. Tip is set for 7 p.m.
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Seniors Lead Cougars to win over Rice - with Video

HOUSTON, TX -- Wednesday night inside Hofheinz Pavilion was "Senior Night" for Aubrey Coleman, Sean Coleman and Kelvin Lewis and the three of them combined to lead the Cougars to a 78-70 victory over crosstown rival Rice in front of an announced crowd of 3546 fans.

A.C. scored a game-high 18 points and added nine rebounds. Sean Coleman scored a career-high 12 points (4 for 6 from the field including 2 for 4 on threes); and Kelvin Lewis added 16 points on 5 for 13 shooting.


Kelvin Lewis said winning on Senior Night "feels good. It feels good to beat Rice - that's our rival; but, we just took at is another game to get ready for the conference tournament. We got it done. We were a little sluggish; but, we got it done; so, we're good."

The Cougars led the Owls 60-46 before the Owls erupted for a 17-2 scoring run to lead 63-62 with 7:33 left in the second half.

Lewis splashed in a three-point shot to put the Cougars ahead 65-63; then, three minutes and 42 seconds later, Aubrey Coleman swished a tough three-point shot from the corner to give the Cougars a seven point lead and a cushion for the victory.

Sean Coleman said the key to erasing the Owls' lead was he and his teammates kept their composure.

"We tried to maintain our poise and pull out the victory. It was a battle and we did a good job responding."
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Monday, March 01, 2010

Rockets Trounce Toronto

HOUSTON, TX -- The Houston Rockets did to the Toronto Raptors Monday night what the Utah Jazz did to them Saturday night -- light up the opponent. The Rockets roasted the Raptors 116-92 in front of an announced crowd of 13,943 fans.

Houston (30-29) made its first 10 shots of the ball game and never looked back.

Toronto (31-28) was already without All-Star forward Chris Bosh (sprained ankle) and point guard Jose Calderon (elbow); the, forward Hedo Turkoglu sprained his left ankle in the second quarter and was done for the ball game.

"Obviously, we're really pleased with the way we approached the game," said Rockets head coach Rick Adelman. "That team was short-handed. We shot it (the ball) well. We moved it (the ball) well. After the first quarter, in the second and third quarter, we defended pretty well. We did what we wanted to do.

"It's a game that we needed to get. Now, we have to try and build on it this Wednesday."

Despite the scorching shooting to start the game, the Rockets led the Raptors by just nine points (37-28) at the end of the first period.

The Raptors pulled within four points (39-35) early in the second quarter; however, David Andersen drained two jump shots and Kevin Martin splashed in a three-point shot to help the Rockets take an eleven point lead (52-41) at the 6:04 mark of the period.

The Rockets blew the game wide open with a 16 to 4 finishing kick to lead by 21 points (68-47) at halftime.

"The end of the second quarter was terrific," Adelman added.

Kevin Martin and Aaron Brooks each scored 28 points. Martin shot 9 for 16 from the field (5 for 8 on threes) while Brooks shot 11 for 16 (4 for 9 on threes).

"When they're making shots like that, it really opens the court for everybody else," Adelman said about his high scoring backcourt duo. "So, we just have to keep working at it. The key for them is they have to do the job at the other end (defensively)."

The Rockets kept the proverbial "foot on the gas" in the third quarter and outscored the Raptors 28 to 19 and made the fourth quarter extended garbage time.

"We pretty much put the game over in the third quarter that way we didn't have to worry about the fourth," said Aaron Brooks.

The Rockets collected 33 assists on 41 made baskets and shot 51.3% (41 for 80) including an astounding 52.0% (13 for 25) from the Land of Three.

Chuck Hayes dished out a career-high eight assists. Yes, Chuck Hayes.

The Rockets will look to start a two-game winning streak this Wednesday versus former Rockets' fan favorite Carl Landry and the Sacramento Kings.
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Friday, February 26, 2010

Rockets Hold off Spurs

HOUSTON, TX -- The Houston Rockets played well for "two and a half quarters" Friday night versus the San Antonio Spurs which proved to be just enough to pick up a 109-104 victory in front of a sold-out crowd of 18,195 fans.

"I'm pleased to get the win," said Rick Adelman after the game. "The way we came out and played for two and a half quarters was terrific."

The Rockets blitzed the Spurs in the first quarter and led 31-14 after the game's first 12 minutes. Luis Scola scored 12 points and grabbed six rebounds in the first period.

Houston (29-28) shot 59.1% (13 for 22 fromt he field) in the opening period.

"He (Luis) played very well," Adelman said of Scola's play. "He was very active; made his first few shots; got going and got to the line."

San Antonio (32-24) played more aggressively in the second quarter; and, the Spurs' reserves, led by Manu Ginobli, scored 15 of the team's 27 points in the period. Ginobli shot six-for-six from the foul line. The Spurs attempted a total of 13 foul shots in the quarter and made 10.

However, though the Spurs were more aggressive, the Rockets still won the quarter 28-27 to take a 59-41 lead into halftime.

Aaron Brooks and Kevin Martin combined for 18 of the 28 points. Each scored nine points.

The Rockets led by as many as 23 points (72-49) in the third quarter; but, despite Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobli resting on the bench, the Spurs outscored the Rockets 20-13 over the final 5:54 of the quarter to cut the Rockets lead to 16 (85-69) at the end of three.

Duncan and Ginobli rested the entire fourth quarter; but, the Rockets could not put the Spurs away.

After Luis Scola drained two free throws for 96-81 lead, the Rockets got lax on defense and the Spurs crept back in the ball game.

"I'm disappointed with the way we finished the game," Adelman said. "We just have to do a better job. We had mental mistakes again in the fourth quarter."

San Antonio guard George Hill splashed in a three-point basket with 8.6 seconds remaining to cut the Rockets lead to just three points (105-102); however, Aaron Brooks made two free throws to push the lead to five with 8.0 seconds on the game clock. San Antonio's Ian Mahinmi scored a  layup to make the score 107-104 Rockets with 3.6 seconds left in the ball game. Brooks capped off the scoring with two more made free throws.

Hill scored a team-high 26 points -- 23 in the second half.

"Houston did a great job," said Spurs head coach, Gregg Popovich after the game. "They were very physical and aggressive from the start. "They jumped out and got a big lead; and, I liked the way our bench played. I never thought about taking them out."

The Spurs' reserves outscored the Rockets' reserves 59 to 4.

Brooks' final two points gave him 31 points for the game and gave the Rockets a franchise first -- three players to score 30 or more points in the same game. Kevin Martin scored a game-high 33 points and Scola scored a career-high 30 points.

"The only thing is that we win," Scola said. "At the end of the day, that's what we care about."

Martin shot 9 for 24 from the field; but, he made all 14 of his free throws.

"I wish I could hit more (shots) and be a little bit more efficient," Martin said. "But, you know overall, it's a win; and, I think at the end of the day that's all that matters."

Scola shot 8 for 17 from the field and also made all 14 of his foul shots.

"I thought Kevin and Aaron and Luis did a great job," said Shane Battier. "This is sort of what we've been waiting for the last three years. We ran the offense the way it's designed to be run with backdoors and layups and screens for each other and great ball movement."

The Rockets shot 34 for 38 (89.5%) from the free throw line.

"It's something we struggle with," Battier stated. "We don't have a lot of foul creators. When things aren't going well, the best thing is to get to that foul line and get some easy buckets."

Tonight's win snaps the Rockets' four-game losing streak.

"Like I said, I'm really glad to get the win," Coach Adelman concluded. "But, we've got to be better. We just got to be better in situations."
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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Cougars Dominate Memphis - with Penders' Video

HOUSTON, TX (Hofheinz Pavilion) -- The Houston Cougars snapped a two-game losing in dominating fashion Wednesday night with a thorough 92-75 thumping of the Memphis Tigers in front of an announced crowd of 4063 fans.

"We beat a very good Memphis team tonight," said Houston head coach Tom Penders.

Houston (14-13 overall, 6-7 in C-USA) didn't allow the Tigers to pull within single digits after taking a 17-7 lead at the 12:06 mark of the first half.


Houston's victory snapped an eleven-game losing streak to Memphis (20-8, 10-3) dating back February 5, 2005. The 17-point victory is also Houston's largest margin of victory over the Tigers in the series.

Houston's Aubrey Coleman, the nation's leading scorer, scored a game-high 34 points (11 for 17 from the field including 3 for 7 on threes). Coleman added eight rebounds and four assists.


Kendrick Washington, freshman big man, dominated down low with 16 points and nine rebounds. Washington also added three blocked shots and 1 steal for good measure.

Kelvin Lewis chipped in with 18 points and six rebounds; and, point guard Desmond Wade dished out a game-high 10 assists.

"We just let it all hang out and that's how I want our kids to play," added Coach Tom Penders. "Like I told them yesterday, 'this is the last time we're going to see .500. We're going to win these last four and go into the Tournament (C-USA Tournament) on a roll.'

"Just before the game, I just had a feeling in the locker room how loose and yet focused they seemed to be."
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Houston Cougars Host Memphis Tigers Wednesday Night

HOUSTON, TX -- The Houston Cougars (13-13 overall, 5-7 in C-USA) host the Memphis Tigers (20-7, 10-2) Wednesday night inside Hofheinz Pavilion. Tip - off is set for 7 p.m.

The Coogs will try to snap a two-game losing treak as well as avenge a 92-77 loss (January 23) to the Tigers in Memphis.

Houston senior guard Aubrey Coleman continues leading Division I in scoring with a 25.4 points per game average. In addition, Coleman ranks second nationally with 2.9 steals per game.

Memphis has won four games in a row. The Tigers are led by first-year head coach Josh Pastner (from Kingwood HS and University of Arizona). Pastner is assisted on the sidelines by former Rice Owls head coach Willis Wilson.

• Representatives from ICON will be on hand to distribute 500 baseball schedule magnets.
• Members of the 2010 Houston Baseball team will be on hand to pass out this season's schedule cards, while personnel from the Athletics Ticket Office will be available to order baseball tickets.
• Close the Gap, a national initiative aimed at addressing disparities in cardiovascular care for the underserved patient populations of women, black Americans and Latino Americans, will staff an educational booth on the topic on the concourse.
• At halftime, Corbin J. Robertson Society full scholarship and endowment donors will be recognized on the court.
• Fans also can enjoy a special performance of Mascot Basketball at halftime.
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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Rockets Recall Taylor from Vipers

The Rockets recalled rookie Jermaine Taylor from the D-League today.
General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has recalled guard Jermaine Taylor from Houston’s single-affiliation NBA D-League partner Rio Grande Valley.
Taylor was re-assigned to the Vipers on February 19.
Taylor (6-4, 210, Central Florida) has averaged 19.7 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.00 steals in six games (two starts) with the Vipers. In his first stint with Rio Grande Valley, Taylor posted back-to-back 30-point outings at Albuquerque (30 points on 2/2/10 and 32 points on 2/3/10). A rookie out of Central Florida, Taylor has averaged 2.6 points and 0.2 assists in 17 games with the Rockets this season.
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Ariza to Miss Some Games

This afternoon the Houston Rockets announced swingman Trevor Ariza is expected to miss the next three games (at least) with a severe left hip pointer:

Rockets G/F Trevor Ariza underwent an MRI yesterday at the Memorial Hermann Sports Medicine Institute that confirmed a severe left hip pointer. Ariza originally suffered the injury on 2/6 against the Philadelphia 76ers and missed one game (at Miami, 2/9) before returning to action following the All-Star break. Ariza re-aggravated the injury again on Saturday against the Indiana Pacers. He is expected to miss the next three games and will be re-evaluated early next week.
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Monday, February 22, 2010

Rockets Thoughts

Just a few thoughts about the Rockets:

As quick as he is on offense, Aaron Brooks' perimeter defense is awful. Brooks needs to keep his man in front of him and out of the paint. The last two ball games, T.J. Ford (23 points off the Pacers' bench) and rookie Darren Collison (26 points and nine assists subbing for injured Chris Paul) have made Brooks look bad.

Chuck Hayes, all 6'6" of him, may the Rockets best defender. Think about that for a moment...
...However, once taller post players realize one of Chuck's biggest strengths is slapping the ball in the post, they simply shoot over him at will.

During the handful of games Tracy McGrady played this season with the Rockets, Rick Adelman lamented he couldn't play McGrady more minutes because of the logjam at the wing positions. Now that McGrady has been traded, when will Adelman make similar comments regarding the new logjam among Trevor Ariza, Shane Battier, Chase Budinger, and Kevin Martin?

Yes, the Rockets need practice time to get on the same page with the new players; however, it's possible practice time won't make any difference this week with games against the Orlando Magic (2/24), San Antonio Spurs (2/26), and the Utah Jazz (2/27).

The Rockets (28-27) could, conceivably, lose all three games and be two games under .500 by the end of the week.
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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Pacers Race Past Rockets

HOUSTON, TX (Toyota Center) -- The new-look Houston Rockets scored 115 points; unfortunately, the Rockets allowed 125 points to the Indiana Pacers as Indiana picked up the 125-115 victory in fron of an announced crowd of 16,550 fans.

The Rockets led by 11 points at halftime; but, the Pacers (19-36) erased that lead in the third quarter outscoring the Rockets 36-25 to tie the game at 90 heading to the fourth period.

"That was a very poor defensive effort on our part," said Rockets head coach Rick Adelman. "We talked about it at halftime, with an 11 point lead, that the Pacers could score points. 'You got to get out. You got to make a stand. You got to play people individually. You can't gamble. Be solid.'

"They got it going; and, then they started making every shot. You give up 71 points (in the second half) at home you're not going to win very many games doing that."

Defense seemed to be taboo to the Rockets in the second half as Indiana shot 56.8% (25 for 44) from the field.

T.J. Ford led the second half onslaught with 18 points (8 for 13 from the field) in 15 plus minutes. Ford finished the game with a season-high 23 points; and, he did not record his first assist until he had scored 22 points.

"T.J. Ford was amazing," said Aaron Brooks. "He made a lot of jumpers. He played well."

The Rockets (28-26) led the Pacers 30 to 27 after the first period. Luis Scola scored 11 in the opening 12 minutes.

Kevin Martin checked into the game with 5:50 remaining in the quarter to a standing ovation.

Martin finished the first quarter with two points (1 for 5); two assists; one board; and one steal.

The Rockets offense continued rolling in the second quarter with 35 points on 13 for 24 shooting (4 for 5 on threes). Aaron Brooks scored 11 points in the second.

The third period started the Rockets' downfall.

"It all started with the third quarter," Brooks said. "We had an 11 point lead. We knew these guys could score points in bunches. But, we let them back into the game. They rode the momentum from the third quarter into the fourth quarter.

"I think it starts in the third. If we go out there and play hard and make a stand in the third quarter, they won't have momentum in the fourth. They played a great game." 

Offense was not the problem tonight for the Rockets.

"We scored 115 points and had 28 assists," said Coach Adelman. "We didn't give ourselves a chance. They had everything going for them. If you're making any stops at the other end, it carries over at the offensive end.

"I talked about it at halftime even before it started; and, I talked about it at every timeout; and, it never changed. We are not going to do anything if we don't have more of an attitude at the defensive end of the floor. I know we have shortcomings and everything; but, we've got to be better thant that."

Martin finished the game with 14 points; but, he made only 3 of his 16 field goals. He did shoot 8 for 9 from the free throw line. Martin added six rebounds; five assists; three steals; and one blocked shot.

Martin said he liked the shots he took.

"Loved them," Martin acknowledged. "They felt good. Some nights your shot just doesn't fall; but, you just can't let it affect how you play on the other end and just do other things."

Indiana's Danny Granger scored a game-high 36 points including 12 in the final quarter including back-to-back three-point buckets to ice the game for the Pacers.
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Rockets Sign Temple to Second 10-day; Waive Cook

HOUSTON, TX -- Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has signed guard Garrett Temple to a second 10-day contract and has waived forward Brian Cook.

Yesterday, the Rockets re-assigned rookie guard Jermaine Taylor to Houston’s single-affiliation NBA D-League partner the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. In his first stint with Rio Grande Valley, Taylor averaged 21.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.25 steals in four games (one start). He also posted back-to-back 30-point outings with the Vipers at Albuquerque (30 points on 2/2/10 and 32 points on 2/3/10).
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Thursday, February 18, 2010

T-Mac and Martin switch teams in 7-player deal

UPDATE, 12:40 p.m. -- Tracy McGrady will be traded to the New York Knicks as the deal has expanded to include three teams. The Rockets still get Kevin Martin from the Sacramento Kings; but, they will also obtain forward Jared Jeffries and rookie big man Jordan Hill from the Knicks as well as the right to swap first round picks with the Knicks in 2011 and the Knicks first round pick in 2012. (The Knicks' 2011 pick is top-1 protected, and the 2012 pick is top-5 protected.)

2/18/10, 9:10 a.m. --
Overnight, the Houston Rockets traded Tracy McGrady to the Sacramento Kings in a seven-player deal. In addition to McGrady, forward Carl Landry and center / forward Joey Dorsey were traded to the Kings in exchange for shooting guard Kevin Martin, forward Kenny Thomas, big (thin) man Hilton Armstrong, and guard Sergio Rodriguez.

Sacramento, apparently, is not the final destination for McGrady.

ESPN.com and NBA.com have stated the Knicks are still working to acquire McGrady which, ultimately, would make this a three-team trade.

However, from the Rockets' perspective, McGrady is dealt and Kevin Martin is a Houston Rocket.

Kevin Martin, 6'7", 185, is a solid scorer averaging 17.1 points per game in his career including 19.8 ppg in just 22 games this season. Martin missed much of the early part of this season with a hairline fracture in his left wrist.

Also, Martin missed the final few games of the 2008-2009 season with bone spurs in his left ankle; however, days before he was shut down for the remainder of the season, on April 1, 2009, Martin scored a career-high 50 points versus the Golden State Warriors on 11 for 22 from the field and 23 for 26 from the foul line.

Martin has played in more than 70 games in a season only twice in his six-year career. Martin, 27, will earn about $36 M over the next three seasons.
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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Final Five Minutes Doom Rockets Versus Jazz

HOUSTON, TX -- The Houston Rockets battled the Utah Jazz for 43 minutes; however, the Rockets could not match Utah's superb half-court offense in the final five minutes resulting in a 104-95 win by the Jazz in front of a crowd of 14,942 fans.

With 4:41 left in the fourth period, David Andersen nailed a three-point basket in transition to give the Rockets a 93-90 lead; however, the Rockets committed three turnovers and missed eight field goals down the stretch while Utah scored 10 consecutive points.

"I think it just came down to the end of the game where their experience showed," said Rockets head coach Rick Adelman. "They executed. We got some steals. We got some turnovers; but, we didn't do enough offensively. We just didn't have any answers to get anything done offensively."

Adelman was not thrilled with his team's shot selection down the stretch.

"A couple of them were okay," Adelman added. "We don't have the experience, when they take something away, you have to be able to adjust to it and find the next option. (Deron) Williams is tremendous at that.

"Unfortunately, in the last four mintues, we couldn't get a good shot -- at least not a good enough shot to keep us in the game."

Aaron Brooks scored 18 points; however, Brooks shot just 1 for 11 from the field in the second half. Brooks turned the ball over five times while dishing three assists.

"Too many turnovers. Period. Personally. Not enough assists," Brooks lamented.

Utah's Deron Williams scored 17 points and dished out 15 assists.

Brooks said of Williams' game, "He did a great job of getting his teammates involved. He had a great game."

The Rockets (27-25) trailed the Jazz (33-19) 28 to 23 after the first period; however, the Rockets outscored the Jazz 32 to 21 in the second period.

David Anderson scored nine of his 18 points in the second quarter while Brooks scored eight in the period.

The Jazz outscored the Rockets 27 to 19 in the third period. Utah's Mehmet Okur scored 11 points in the quarter.

Utah led 78-74 after a tip-in by Ronnie Price opened the fourth quarter scoring. The four point lead was the largest lead of the final period until the final 17.8 seconds of the game.

Utah shot 60% (21 for 35) from the field in the second half compared to Houston's ice cold 29.5% (13 for 44).

Okur led the Jazz with 21 points while Paul Milsap added 20 points off the bench.

"We played them tough tonight. We just didn't make enough plays down the stretch in the fourth quarter," said Shane Battier.
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Saturday, February 13, 2010

UH's Lewis Scores 29 points in win over SMU (video)

HOUSTON, TX (Hofheinz Pavilion) -- Kelvin Lewis made sure the Houston Cougars would not lose to the SMU Mustangs. Lewis scored 29 points in a tough 66-60 UH victory over the Mustangs Saturday afternoon in front of 3021 fans inside Hofheinz Pavilion.

Lewis scored 19 points in the first half as the Cougars took a 31-26 lead into halftime. Aubrey Coleman scored just two points in the first half; but, Coleman bounced back with 14 points in the second half to finish the game with 16 points and eight rebounds.


Lewis shot 9 for 18 from the field overall including 7 for 16 on three-point shots.

Houston (13-11 overall, 5-5 in C-USA) finished the game with a season-low two turnovers.

The Cougars' next game is this Tuesday, February 16, in Orlando, FL, versus UCF. Tip is set for 6 p.m. (CST).
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Tom Penders' Presser after Coogs Beat SMU (video)

HOUSTON, TX (Hofheinz Pavilion) -- The Houston Cougars held on to defeat the SMU Mustangs 66-60 Saturday afternoon in front of an announced crowd of 3021 fans.

Houston senior guard Kelvin Lewis led all scorers with 29 points (9 for 18 overall, 7 for 16 on threes). 


Houston (13-11, 5-5 in C-USA) travels to Orlando, FL, to face UCF Tuesday, February 16, at 6 p.m.
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Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Rockets Take Advantage of Woeful Warriors

HOUSTON, TX -- The Golden State Warriors are a good tonic for what ails a struggling team. The Rockets took advantage of what the Warriors' call defense and picked up a 119-97 victory in front of an announced crowd of 12,845 fans.

Trevor Ariza scored 14 points in the first quarter; and, the Rockets (26-22) led by as much as 21 points (33-12) in the opening period which seemed to indicate a rout was just beginning.

Not quite. The Warriors (13-34) finished the first quarter outscoring the Rockets 13 to 6 and trailed by a more manageable 14 points (39-25) at the end of the opening 12 minutes. The 39 points were a season-high for the Rockets in the first quarter.

Monta Ellis scored 11 points in the first period; but, he heated up in the second stanza and dropped in 16 points on 6 for 10 field goal shooting.

The Rockets fumbled the ball away eight times in the second period; and, Ellis drained a three-point shot to pull the Warriors within one point (50-49) with 2:17 left in the half.

Aaron Brooks scored six points during a 9-0 run as the Rockets were able to finish the shaky second quarter on a positive note and take a 59-49 lead into halftime.

"I thought the biggest part of the game was the last two minutes of the second quarter," Rick Adelman said. "When we went from one up to ten up going into halftime.

"Overall, it's a win we really needed to go into this weekend. Glad, we got it."

The Rockets extended the run with a 9-2 burst at the start of the third period capped off by a three-point basket by Shane Battier. Houston led 68-51 after Battier's three-pointer.

The Rockets led 83-68 at the end of the third quarter.

Chase Budinger (14 points) and Carl Landry (12 points) dominated the fourth quarter with a combined 26 points. They combined to shoot 10-for-10 in the quarter.

The Rockets shot 60.9% (14 for 23) from the field in the period and led by as much as 28 points (117-89) in the quarter.

Monta Ellis started the fourth quarter with 34 points. Ellis finished the quarter with 34 points. Ellis played the first two plus minutes of the period and sat the rest of the quarter as the Rockets cruised to the win.

The Rockets, yes, the Rockets, out rebounded the Warriors 57 to 35.

"We felt that that's something we could do at both ends of the court," said Rick Adelman. "We hurt them the first two games on the boards. We wanted to make them a jump shooting team. If we did that, they are not a great offensive rebounding team; so, we should control it and that's what we wanted to do.

"When you're playing a team like this, your concentration has to be consistent. There were three or four times where we tried to go for steals in the backcourt; and, that opens it up in the transition game. You can't do that."

Adelman added, "Overall, it's a win that we really needed to go into this weekend. Glad, we got it."
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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Suns Edge Rockets in Overtime

HOUSTON, TX -- The Houston Rockets fell behind early; led in the middle; fell behind late; forced overtime; but, ultimately, lost to the Phoenix Suns 115-111 Sunday night in front of announced crowd of 17,165 fans.

The Suns raced past the Rockets early in the first quarter. Phoenix scored 12 fast breaks in the first quarter.

"The guys really played hard," said Rockets head coach Rick Adelman. "Really competed. We didn't shoot it well all night long. We hung in there and had a chance to win the game."

Houston (25-22) trailed Phoenix (28-21) 28 to 21 at the end of the first quarter and 60-48 at halftime. The Suns shot 48.8% (21 for 43)  from the field in the opening half compared to just 34.7% (17 for 49) for the Rockets.

"It's hard. The guys played their tails off. In the first half, we were a step slow. We were a step behind them. I thought they (the Suns) were quicker. They did a lot of good things; and, that's why we were down.

"But, the third quarter, the game changed. We've got to figure out a way to start the game and play it 48 minutes through."

The Rockets trailed by 14 points (64-40) before Trevor Ariza drained a three-point basket to start a 19-4 run. Aaron Brooks made two three-point shots during the run; and, Luis Scola put back a lay-up to give the Rockets a 69-68 lead with three minutes and 16 seconds remaining the second half.

The Suns finished the third quarter with a 11 to 4 run to take a 79-73 into the fourth quarter.

During the fourth quarter, Brooks and rookie Chase Budinger combined for three consecutive three-point baskets which tied the game at 85.

Amare Stoudemire was an unstoppable force in the fourth quarter. Stoudemire scored 11 of the Suns 21 points in the period.

Trailing 97-94, Brooks drove baseline; gently touched Steve Nash, Nash tumbled to the court; and, Brooks calmly drained a 16-foot jump shot. Nash protested to the refs (too much) and was called for a technical foul. Brooks drained the free throw and tied the score at 97 with 1:18 remaining.

Nash put the Suns ahead with a three-point bucket just 10 seconds later.

Neither team scored until Trevor Ariza made a very tough three-point basket from the right corner tie the game at 100 with just 11.3 seconds left.

Nash squandered a chance to win the game as he was weak shot attempt in the paint fell short.

The overtime session stayed close throughout the extra five minutes.

Trailing 111-110, Brooks had a chance to win the game in the final seconds. Brooks drove past Nash to the basket; and, AB lofted a shot off the glass which bounced off the rim.

"I just missed it," Brooks said after the game. "Great play. I got to the rim. I make that shot nine out of ten times. The ball kind of slipped. That's how it goes. I missed the shot."

Suns' forward Jared Dudley rebounded the miss and made both free throws for a 113-110 Suns' lead.

Instead of allowing the Rockets to attempt a game-tying three-point shot, the Suns fouled Brooks with 4.3 seconds on the game clock before he attempted a shot. Brooks made the first free throw; and, intentionally missed the second attempt. The ball caromed off the rim straight back to Brooks; however, Brooks was called for a lane violation because he entered the paint before his shot hit the rim. (The call was correct.)

Nash was fouled; and, swished two free throws to seal the victory for the Suns.

The Rockets shot just 37.7% (40 for 106) from the field for the game.

"We had a really tough night, overall, shooting the ball," said Rockets forward Shane Battier. "Especially, in the first quarter; and, the Suns really make you pay for missing shots. Once we started making some shots, we slowed them down a bit and that allowed us to get back in the game. I'm proud of the way we fought. We fought hard. We could have gave in to them. We just didn't make enough plays at the end to win the game."
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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Coleman's 37 Helps Houston beat Herd -- w/ Video

HOUSTON, TX (Hofheinz Pavilion) -- Aubrey Coleman scored 37 points and picked up 13 rebounds as the Houston Cougars defeated the Marshall Thundering Herd 81-66 in front of an announced crowd of 4457 fans.

Houston (11-9 overall, 4-3 in C-USA) struggled on the glass in the first half as Marshall (15-6, 4-3) out rebounded the Cougars 28 to 17. The Coogs also made just 13 of 37 field goal attempts in the opening half; but, Houston led 32-27 at halftime. Coleman scored only nine of the 32 points.

Coleman went into attack mode in the second half. He raced down the court at will; banked in soft jump shots off the glass twice; and, repeatedly, attacked the rim.

"It's a zone that I get in," said Coleman after the game. "When I'm working out at night by myself, I train my mind to do exactly what I'm going to do in the game. I work out like I play."


The Coogs started the second half with a 23 to 8 run to lead by 20 points. Freshman forward Kirk Van Slyke hit his second jump shot of the run to give UH a 55-35 lead.

Marshall trimmed Houston's lead to 13 (59-46) at the 8:54 mark; but, the Colemans (Aubrey and Sean - no relation) combined for six straight points to stretch the lead to 19 points. Houston cruised to victory over the final 6:47.

In addition to Aubrey's 37 points, Maurice McNeil scored 13 points (6 for 9 from the field) in 23 minutes; and, big man Kendrick Washington and guard Kelvin Lewis each chipped in 10 points.

"Kendrick played well," answere Kelvin Lewis. "Kendrick's been playing well these last couple of games. He's finally getting into the shape that we need him.

"He's pounding down low; he's playing great defense; he's being a force. He's knocking people around and making it tough for the big men to get postion. Just being a pest down low; and, knocking them around and showing them that he's not going anywhere. He's doing a great job."

The Cougars shot 53.6% (15 for 28) from the field in the second half to help pick up the victory.

Houston travels to El Paso, TX, Wednesday, February 3, to face the Miners. Tip is set for 9 p.m.
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