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Volume 70, Issue 79, Thursday, January 27, 2005


Cougars get wiped out by Green Wave in last minute

Tulane, shooting woes end UH's homecourt undefeated streak

By Sam Khan Jr.
The Daily Cougar

Oops. This wasn't supposed to happen.

It was a game that many of the 3,897 in attendance would have likely chalked up as an easy W for the Houston Cougars, but the Tulane Green Wave spoiled the party thanks to an up-and-under 15-footer with 2.1 seconds by freshman guard Taylor Rochestie, helping the Green Wave upset the Cougars 63-61 Wednesday at Hofheinz Pavilion.

"(Head coach Shawn Finney) wanted me to get the ball with about 10 seconds left and have a clear out," said Rochestie, who led the Green Wave with 13 points. "I was just trying to create something and make something happen."

Senior guard Andre Owens capped a late 6-0 run by Houston, hitting a three-pointer to tie the game up with 28.0 seconds left, setting up Rochestie's heroics. Junior guard Brian Latham's half-court prayer missed long as the buzzer sounded.

Stephen Pinchback/The Daily Cougar

Houston fell to Tulane on Wednesday night in a last-second Green Wave victory in front of 3,897 Cougar fans who came to the game expecting it to go Houston's way.

"It seems like the other team always finds a way to win," said Owens, who finished with 23 points. "We had our best defensive player (Latham) on their best offensive player (Rochestie), and I'll take that every night. (Rochestie) made a tough shot.

"It shouldn't even come down to that. If we make our free throws, the game is over."

Ah, the free throws. It's a place Houston has struggled most of the season, as UH has shot 65 percent as a team for the season, and a mere 57 percent in the six Conference USA games the team has played. The Cougars hit 11-of-21 on Wednesday and also struggled from the field, hitting only 35 percent of their shots, including 6-29 from behind the arc.

After a slugfest of a first half that ended with the Cougars trailing 31-28, Owens helped lead Houston on a 14-4 run to seemingly take control of the game, leading 42-35.

And that's when the drought began. The Cougars followed their early second-half run with a stretch that saw them go scoreless for more than six minutes and go without hitting a field goal for seven and a half minutes. 

The Green Wave (8-10, 2-5 C-USA) didn't exactly blow the roof off Hofheinz Pavilion either, but they made trip after trip to the charity stripe, converting 15 of 19 free throws in the second half to take control of the contest. They finished 17out of 21 from the line.

The loss drops the Cougars to 12-8 on the season and 3-3 in C-USA. And though it's only one loss, it definitely puts a big dent in the Cougar's tournament hopes. 

"It's real disappointing," Penders said. "You start thinking about a tournament bid and you give (the game) away."

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