Volume 2, Issue 4 University of Houston
UH comes from behind to beat Tulane, evens record in C-USA
By Jake McKim
How important is winning conference games to the UH men's basketball team?
It was obvious in the eyes of the Cougars before Saturday night's game at Hofheinz Pavilion. UH had that look in its eyes -- the look of a team poised to make the Tulane Green Wave its first victim of the young Conference USA schedule.
After losing its first game in league play against Southern Mississippi, UH was not interested in falling to 0-2 in an intensely competitive conference.
The battle, pitting two teams that will only get better with age against each other, was close from the beginning, with the lead flip-flopping several times.
Despite the close score, Tulane outplayed UH through much of the first half and built a 41-33 lead at halftime.
"I thought we came out a little flat in the first half," UH head men's basketball coach Clyde Drexler said. "We didn't do much of anything.
"We really needed to pick up our intensity, and we did that in the start of the second half."
A motivational halftime speech from Drexler, intended to pump life into the hapless Cougars, seemed to work from the outset of the second half, with the team emerging re-energized.
"In the second half we took it upon ourselves to execute," Drexler said.
Kenny Younger (50) goes up for two of his 19 points in UH's 75-74 win over Tulane on Saturday night. Younger also grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out four assists for UH, which outscored Tulane 42-33 in the second half for the win.
Max Lacayo/Breaking News
Behind a solid defensive effort from sophomore Bernard Smith, who was playing in only his second game after returning from a broken wrist, the Cougars held the Green Wave to only 32 second-half points.
"It was a good collective effort," Drexler said.
Senior center Kenny Younger led the Cougars in scoring with 19 points and dominated the inside with his intense play.
Senior point guard Gee Gervin contributed 13 points and five assists while freshman forward George Williams added a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
UH battled back to even the score at 51 with 11:27 remaining, and from that point on, it was as tight as a childproof aspirin bottle.
With 1:20 remaining and the score knotted at 73, Gervin was fouled and made both free throws to make it 75-73 in favor of UH. Williams then fouled Sterling Davis, who made one of two free throws with 0:35 remaining as Tulane pulled to within one point, 75-74.
UH narrowly escaped with the win when UH sophomore forward Jake Ballis missed both free throws after being fouled with three seconds left. Tulane sophomore Waitari Marsh rebounded the ball, ran the full length of the court, but missed a desperation three, handing UH the win.
With the last-second victory, the Cougars moved to 7-8 overall and 1-1
in conference play. Tulane is now 10-3 and 0-2 in Conference USA.
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