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Volume 69, Issue 106, Monday, March 9, 2004


Coogs end season on sour note

Cougar Sports Services

Houston looked poised to finish strong.

The Cougars had the game all but won. They led by 20 with just 12 minutes left to play.

That's when Saint Louis stepped up the intensity with a full-court press, and when the smoke had cleared the Cougars found themselves on the wrong side of a 72-69 loss in overtime.

UH head coach Ray McCallum could only sit and watch as the Cougars let a 20-point lead melt away in less than 12 minutes. Houston lost 72-69 to Saint Louis in overtime.
Pin Lim/The Daily Cougar

A pair of free throws by freshman guard Lanny Smith put Houston ahead 60-51 with only 50 seconds left in regulation. 

But the Cougars, who were a perfect 11 of 11 from the line to that point, missed four out of six free throws and turned the ball over to give the Billikens a chance.

Eerily similar to the TCU game earlier this season at Hofheinz Pavilion, Saint Louis' Phillip Hunt tipped in after an airball as the final buzzer in regulation sounded, completing the Billikens' comeback and tying the game at 62-62. Houston went more than four minutes in overtime without scoring before a Marcus Oliver jumper, but by then it was too late.

Senior center Anwar Ferguson recorded a double double in his final collegiate game with 13 points and eleven rebounds, and also added five blocked shots. Ferguson, who is second in the nation in blocks, finishes the year with a UH single-season record 111 blocked shots.

For the second consecutive year, the Cougars (9-18, 3-13) finish the season with single digits in the win column after finishing with only eight wins last year. In comparison, the team won 18 games in the 2001-2002 season, one more than the last two seasons combined, before losing to Vanderbilt in the first round of the NIT.

Junior guard Andre Owens should return to the squad next year for his senior season and will be joined by fellow starters Smith and Aaron Anderson. The Cougars are hoping freshman forward Andrew Francis will be ready by the beginning of next season after an injury forced him to miss the final 23 games of the season. Francis started the Cougars' first four games this season as a freshman. 

But for now, as the rest of the country gets prepared for the excitement of March Madness, the Cougars will be sitting at home wondering what might have been.

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