Men's Basketball's Winning Streak Halted By Houston, 80-54
Dec. 30, 2008
HOUSTON - Looking to run its winning streak to five games and end 2008 on a high note, UMass basketball ran into a buzzsaw in Houston, falling to the Cougars, 80-54, at Hofheinz Pavilion on Tuesday afternoon. After the Minutemen jumped out to an early 8-2 lead, Houston used its fast-pace transition style of play to erase that lead with a 12-2 run and never trailed again. UMass falls to 5-7 on the season, while Houston goes to 8-2.
UMass was led by Anthony Gurley's 17 points. Ricky Harris added 11, while Luke Bonner had nine points, all on 3-pointers. Chris Lowe, who finished the game with three points, was hampered by foul trouble that limited him to just 21 minutes.
Houston was paced by Qa'rraan Calhoun's career-high 26 points. Kelvin Lewis added 20 points for the Cougars, while Aubrey Coleman scored 16 and grabbed 12 rebounds.
UMass started the game strong, with a Harris 3-pointer serving as the game's first points as the Minutemen took an 8-2 lead two minutes in.
Houston answered by going on a 12-2 run over the next four minutes, using quick transition points to take a 14-10 lead with 13:13 left in the first. The Cougars continued to build on the lead, as Aubrey Coleman's layup capped a 14-5 run that put Houston up 10, 32-22, with 6:15 left in the half.
A Gurley 3-pointer with 1:30 left in the half cut the Houston lead to six. That hoop followed a spectacular alley-oop reverse dunk by Tony Gaffney from Harris on the break, but the Cougars closed the half with a 5-1 spurt to take a 10-point lead to the locker room, 43-33. Gaffney would finish with a game-high 16 rebounds.
Gurley led UMass in the first half with 14 points, including 2-for-2 from behind the arc. The Minutemen were 6-for-15 from 3-point range in the half. Lewis paced the Cougars with 16 first half points, as he and his teammates scored 14 points off the Minutemen's 10 turnovers.
The Cougars picked up where they left off, scoring the first seven points of the second half to take a 17-point lead. The lead would reach 25 on a Lewis jumper that capped off an 8-0 run, 65-40, with 11:42 left.
A Bonner 3-pointer helped fuel a run of eight-straight points scored by UMass, cutting the Houston lead to 17, 65-48, with 8:22 to go.
Houston, who at one point didn't substitute a player for over 30 minutes, proved too much down the stretch on this day, increasing its lead to 26 before the final horn sounded.
The Minutemen return to action on Jan. 3, when they start off 2009 by hosting Vanderbilt at the Mullins Center for a 5 p.m. tip. It will be 1960's Celebration and Leaman Legacy Night as UMass basketball continues to celebrate its 100th season.
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