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Volume 4, Issue 4                                    University of Houston

Cougars can't close out close contests

By Jake McKim
Breaking News Staff

The Cougar men's basketball team is getting pretty good at falling just short of a win against quality opponents. Very good, in fact.

After a seven-point loss to Texas Tech, a four-point defeat at the hands of Louisiana State and a heartbreaking one-point loss on a last millisecond shot to North Carolina St., you would think the Cougars would grow weary of losing in such a manner. But on Saturday, the Cougars went on the road to face Saint Louis looking to finally pull one out against a decent opponent, and the result was the same.

Despite 16 points on 8-for-14 shooting from Dominic Smith and 14 points from Kevin Gaines, the Cougars fell short once again losing 67-64. The loss dropped the Cougars to 6-6 overall and 0-1 in Conference USA. Saint Louis moved to 7-7 on the season and 1-0 in C-USA.

With time winding down, the Cougars clawed their way back from as much as a 15-point deficit to draw within one, 43-42 with 10:04 remaining in the game. The Cougars and Billikens traded leads the rest of the way and with 27 seconds to play, UH center Patrick Okafor nailed two free throws to take a 64-63 lead.

Kevin Harwerth/ Breaking News

Cougars guard Kevin Gaines 14 points weren't enough to beat Conference USA opponent Saint Louis on Saturday.

But as he has done all season, Saint Louis guard Marque Perry took control, driving down the court and drawing the defensive attention to him. But instead of taking the contested shot, he passed off to Chris Braun who easily laid it in to regain the lead for the Billikens. The Cougars had a chance to win with 15 seconds to play, but Kevin Gaines' shot was well off the mark. The Billikens' Jason Edwin rebounded the miss and was fouled. Edwin knocked down both free throws to secure the victory for Saint Louis and ensuring the Cougars would again come up like a munchkin -- short.

The scoreboard read 67-64, again showing the Cougars' inability to close out close games this season. On a positive note, the Cougars probably would not even have been competitive in these games last season.

The Cougars will face Tulane in a game that will take place in New Orleans on Tuesday at 7 p.m. The Green Wave is 9-3 on the season and 1-0 in C-USA after defeating DePaul 73-63 on Saturday. The game had yet to be played at press time.

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