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Sunday, January 17, 2021

Men's Basketball

UH set for C-USA finale at Tulane

Senior guard Aubrey Coleman and Co. will attempt to end the regular season on a high note when UH travels to New Orleans to take on Tulane at 7 p.m. Saturday. | Justin Flores/The Daily Cougar

The Cougars look to carry over some of the good vibes from Wednesday’s 78-70 Senior Night win over Rice when they hit the road to take on Tulane in the regular-season finale at 7 p.m. Saturday in New Orleans.

Against the Owls, Aubrey Coleman had 18 points and nine rebounds, and Sean Coleman had a career-high 12 points.

UH (15-14, 7-8 C-USA) has won four of its last seven games and will try to build some more momentum heading into next week’s C-USA Tournament.

“It’s real important,” said guard Kelvin Lewis, who played all 40 minutes against Rice. “It’s our last game of the regular season, and we want to end on a good note.”

Lewis had 16 points in the game, but hopes to avoid another slow start (two points in first half) against Tulane (7-21, 2-13).

“I was relaxed the whole game (against Rice); shots didn’t fall in the first half like they did they in the second,” Lewis said. “I won’t really harp on that…so I’m not really worried about it (the Tulane game).”

Tulane has lost seven straight league games and 14 of its last 16 overall. The Green Wave’s last win was a 79-74 overtime victory over last-place Rice on Feb. 3.

UH needs a win to try and surge to the sixth seed in the conference tournament, while Tulane has locked up the 11th seed. UH cannot finish higher than the sixth seed and can’t fall lower than the eighth seed.

Despite the lackluster season Tulane is mired in, the Green Wave still boasts a talented scoring duo. Junior guard Kris Richard is averaging 12.1 points a game and senior guard Kevin Sims is scoring 11.6 points a game.

Guards Zamal Nixon and Adam Brown lead UH’s bench and both should be key contributors in the regular-season finale after averaging 5.6 and 8.3 points, respectively.

“These guys are busting their behinds everyday in practice, so when they step up in these next few games, it’s not going to be a surprise to us,” Lewis said. We’re going to expect that, and we’re waiting for these guys to explode.”

As much as the Cougars have benefited from having a more-than-capable bench, the bulk of the offensive output will come from dual-threat senior guards Aubrey Coleman and Lewis. Coleman leads the NCAA at 25.6 points per game, and Lewis is a legitimate second option at 15.1 points per game.

Tulane is 4-10 at home this season, scoring 62.1 points per game, while UH is scoring nearly 79 points per game despite a subpar 4-8 road record.

“I think on the road we are somewhat relaxed. We just made certain decisions at the end that cost us some games,” Lewis said. “We have been in a lot of these road games, and you know we’re going to go out there and play and do what we do.”

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