Cougars can’t find the mark

Aubrey Coleman was nowhere to be found.

He did participate in UH’s 77-68 loss to Tulsa on Tuesday at the Reynolds Center in Tulsa, Okla., but something was missing.

On a night in which the Cougars (17-9, 8-5 Conference USA) needed a huge road win to stay in prime position for the No. 2 or 3 seed in the conference tournament, Coleman could not find his shot, making only five of his 21 field goal attempts. He ended the night with 12 points in 36 minutes of playing time.

Coleman was not the only one who could not sink shots. UH made only 37.7 percent of their shots, including shooting 2-for-15 from beyond the arc. This allowed Tulsa to control the game from start to finish.

Tulsa, on the other hand, shot 51.2 percent as a team and sank 31 of its 40 free throw attempts.

Tulsa center Jerome Jordan was huge, recording game-highs of 24 points and 13 rebounds. UH center Marcus Cousin and forward Nick Mosley had no answer for the 7 foot monster, who constantly found an open man when UH’s defense collapsed on him.

Cougars guard Kelvin Lewis led the Cougars with 24 points and was about the only UH player who shot well (9-of-18). Lewis scored 18 of his points in the second half, while his teammates struggled to put up points.

UH trailed 30-24 at the half despite shooting a dismal 31.4 percent and scoring only 6 points in the paint.’

A Kelvin Lewis jumper cut the Golden Hurricane’s lead to 48-46 with 9:19 remaining, but that was as close as the Cougars would get.

Tulsa guard Ben Uzoh, who was held to 12 points on 3-of-11 shooting, nailed two free throws to push the lead to 50-46. Guard Ray Reese followed by nailing a 3-pointer that made the crowd erupt and pushed the Cougars deficit to seven with 8:06 left to play.

Soon after, Tulsa (19-9, 9-4 C-USA) closed the door on the Cougars with a 13-4 run, pushing its lead to 65-52 with 3:21 left in the game.

UH tried to stretch the game out by fouling Tulsa on most of its remaining possessions, but the Golden Hurricane shot 10-of-15 from the charity stripe in the final three minutes to end any thoughts of a comeback.

The Cougars committed its 10th foul of the second half with 9:07 remaining, giving the Golden Hurricane two free throws every time they were fouled for the rest of the game.

UH committed a total of 23 fouls in the second half, which played a huge part in keeping Tulsa from falling into any scoring droughts.

The Cougars had 26 more shot attempts than Tulsa, but the Golden Hurricane made up some of that differential at the charity stripe, where it had 23 more opportunities.’

‘ Tonight’s loss knocks the Cougars into a tie for fourth place with Texas-El Paso in C-USA. If the season ended today, UH would be on the same side of the bracket as conference leader and Associated Press No. 5 Memphis when the C-USA Tournament begins March 11.

Now the Cougars must turn their focus towards crosstown rival Rice, which will host UH at 3 p.m. Saturday at Tudor Fieldhouse.

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