March 3, 2010
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Rice vs. Houston Game Book
HOUSTON - Despite intensity that fueled a pair of double-double performances, Houston utilized a late flurry of points as the Cougars got by Rice on Wednesday, 78-70.
Rice's Suleiman Braimoh and Arsalan Kazemi both registered double-doubles. Braimoh set new career marks with 14 points and 13 rebounds. Despite foul trouble that limited him to 21 minutes of play, Kazemi had 11 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. The game marked the first time since 2006 Rice had two players post double-doubles in the same contest.
Kazemi established a new rookie record for rebounds as he posted his ninth double-double of the season. With 251 rebounds, he broke the old freshman mark of 248 set by Michael Harris during the 2001-02 season.
But the nation's leading scorer, Houston's Aubrey Coleman, helped spark a late rally that had the Cougars extending a one-point lead to 11 points in a matter of a few minutes.
With Houston leading 67-65, Coleman scored a fast-break layup and the next time down the floor connected on a three-pointer to give UH a 72-65 lead. A Rice turnover led to a Zamal Nixon fastbreak dunk. Another turnover led to another fastbreak basket by Nixon and the Cougars' lead was 78-65 with 1:24 to play.
After trailing by as many as 15 points early in the second half, Rice clawed its way back into the game. The Owls were down 60-46 before scoring 11 straight points culminating in a Kazemi fastbreak dunk. Kazemi had scored three of the Owls' four baskets at the end of the run but went to the bench right after the dunk when he was whistled for his fourth personal foul at the other end of the floor.
But the Rice rally continued after a pair of Coleman free throws. Ghoram scored inside and a Connor Frizzelle and downcourt pass led to a Tamir Jackson layup. Braimoh's putback basket with 7:33 to play gave Rice a 63-62 lead.
Kelvin Lewis would give Houston the lead for good with a three-pointer that gave the Cougars a 65-63 lead with 6:39 to play. Lewis was 4-for-6 from three-point range in the second half and finished with 16 points.
Coleman, who was averaging almost 26 points, was 6-for-19 from the field. He finished with a game-high 18 points and also had nine rebounds and four assists.
Connor Frizzelle chipped in 12 points for Rice while Tamir Jackson scored 10 points, had seven assists and set a new Rice freshman season record, passing Elbert Dardan who had 49 steals during his freshman season (1975-76). Jackson had three steals in the game to give him 51 for the season.
Rice played without juniors Bryan Beasley and Trey Stanton who were suspended for breaking team policies.
Houston, which improved to 15-14 and 7-8 in Conference USA play, scored 28 points of 22 Rice turnovers. Rice is now 8-21 and 1-14. The Owls close out the regular season at home Saturday afternoon when they play host to UCF.
Rice had shot less than 40 percent from the free throw line in its last two games but five of Houston's six first-half fouls were shooting fouls and the Owls knocked down 9-of-10 shots at the line.
The Owls led 13-7 early as three-pointers by A.J. Holland and Connor Frizzelle sparked a 9-0 run. The Owls' last lead of the first half came at the 4:29 mark when Ghoram knocked down a pair of free throws.
UH led 30-29 before going on a 9-2 run to grab a 39-31 advantage at the break. Kelvin Lewis scored on a putback basket and after a Rice miss Aubrey Coleman went the length of the floor for a layup. After a Kendrick Washington steal, Adam Brown drained a three-pointer and the Cougars' lead was 37-29.
Suleiman Braimoh ended the Cougars' rally with a layup and the Owls had a chance to cut Houston's lead before the break but Connor Frizzelle missed a three-pointer and at the other end, Coleman found Desmond Wade open for a layup to beat the halftime horn. It was the second straight game a Rice opponent had scored in the final seconds of the first half.