Dec 15, 2012 11:12 PM by UL Sports Information
HOUSTON - The three-point shot proved to be valuable for the Houston Cougars here Saturday evening at Hofheinz Pavilion as the Ragin' Cajuns men's basketball team dropped an 85-63 decision in the final non-conference road game of the 2012-13 season.
The Cougars (8-2) made eight three-pointers in building a 16-point halftime lead, then made six more in the second half - including a pair after the Cajuns closed within nine points inside of 10 minutes to play - to keep the Cajuns (4-7) at arms length.
UH finished the night 14-of-28 from beyond the arc, compared to 4-of-21 by UL, on the way to a 42-12 edge in points from three-point land.
Joseph Young and Danuel House were the catalysts for the Cougars, combining for 10 triples and 49 points. Young led the way with a game-high 27 points on a 6-of-11 performance from three-point range, while House hit 4-of-5 treys and registered 22 points.
Shawn Long led Louisiana with 20 points - his fourth 20-point game of his debut season - but committed seven turnovers while being limited to six rebounds. Elfrid Payton joined him in double digits scoring with 12 points.
A 12-0 run midway through the first half opened a double figure lead for the Cougars that lasted until the 9:38 mark of the second stanza after Payton converted two free throws to drop the Cajuns' deficit to 61-52.
A Louisiana turnover and a pair of missed jumpers later and UH had strung five points together to extend the lead to 66-52 with 7:58 remaining.
Houston put the clamps on the Cajuns following the under eight media timeout as two Young three-point makes afforded the Cougars a 72-54 lead before the clock reached six minutes remaining.
A Steven Wronkoski baseline drive for a layup at 5:32 dropped by UH lead to 72-58, then a triple by the freshman from Hammond made it 74-61 with 4:32 on the clock. The Cougars scored nine unanswered as Louisiana went without a field goal the rest of the way.
The Ragin' Cajuns return to the Cajundome next week to host the final two non-conference games of the 2012-13 campaign. Louisiana welcome Pittsburgh-based Robert Morris on Tuesday, Dec. 18 and Duquense on Saturday, Dec. 22. Both games are scheduled to tip off at 7:05 p.m.
The Cajuns and Cougars swapped mini scoring runs in the first 10 minutes and the largest the Cougars lead reached was six points.
Trailing 10-4, the Cajuns rattled off five straight with a pair of Long free throws at 14:31 and a trey at 14:09. UH stretched its lead back out to six points, using five points from House in the same fashion as Long for a 15-9 lead by 13:16.
Louisiana had a pair of successive scoring possessions that served as bookends to a House triple for UH at 12:28 and drew within a point, 18-17, at 9:59 following a scoop shot from Payton.
The Cougars utilized the three-point shot to jumpstart the 12-0 run that opened a 30-17 lead by the eight minute mark. After the Cajuns snapped the run with a pair of Braylon Lazare freebies at 7:45, UH landed three more triples on a 9-2 surge that made it 39-21 with 4:29 left in the first half.
The Cajuns kept the Cougars off the three-point line the rest of the half, but a first half shooting percentage of 34.3 percent (12-of-35) kept the halftime deficit at a sizeable figure as the Cougars lead 45-29.
The Cajuns started the second half outscoring the Cougars 6-3 to close the deficit to 48-35. Louisiana held Houston to just one field goal make in the first three minutes of the half.
Once again, UH turned to the three-point shot to rebuild its lead and exceed the halftime margin. Treys from Morris and Gibson on successive possessions stretched the advantage to 54-37 by the 15:26 mark.
A pair of Josh Soto triples factored into an 8-2 Louisiana run that trimmed the Cougars' lead to 59-48 with 11:50 remaining.
The Cajuns defense continued to hold the Cougars to attempts from the perimeter and the hosts cooled off a bit. Payton drew a foul at 9:38 and made both free throw shots to get UL within single digits, 61-52, for the first time since the nine minute mark of the opening half.
BANK SHOTS: The contest was the final of three straight against teams situated along Interstate 10 (Dec. 8 at McNeese, Dec. 11 vs. Lamar, Dec. 15 at Houston)...The Cajuns headquartered at the same hotel (Marriott Medical Center) as they did for the Texas Southern trip (Nov. 16)...Louisiana played its final non-conference road game of the season...UL and UH met for the 15th time in a series that began with a meeting in Shreveport during the 1947-48 seaosn...With the win, Houston came away victorious for a second straight meeting and increased its series lead to 9-6...Freshman Cornell Barnett (dental surgery) made his first appearance since the Middle Tennessee contest (Nov. 29) when he subbed in at 12:00 of the first half...The Cougars will return the Cajuns trip next season in a contest at the Cajundome, with a date still yet to be determined...Bryant Mbamalu tied his career-high with five assists...Shawn Long (20 points) scored in double digits for the eight straight outing, a streak that dates back to a 22-point effort against Southern-New Orleans on Nov. 22.