Feb. 19, 2002
HOUSTON, Texas - The University of Houston connected on 11-of-12 free throws in overtime to hold off Tulane University for an 85-871 victory in Conference USA men's basketball action on Tuesday evening at Hofheinz Pavilion.
Tulane (13-11, 5-8 Conference USA) trailed by two with 4.3 seconds remaining in regulation, but junior Waitari Marsh drove through the lane and flipped home a layup at the buzzer to knot the game at 70 and force overtime.
However, Houston (15-11, 8-5) would not trail in the extra session. After a free throw from freshman Karl Hollingsworth (Jonesboro, Ga.) tied the game at 74 with 2:57 to go, the Cougars scored six unanswered points and the Green Wave could not recover. Junior Brandon Brown (Houma, La.) would score in the paint and Marsh knocked down a runner with 40.8 clicks to go to make it 80-78, but Houston's Dominic Smith hit five-of-six free throws in the final 33.2 seconds to ice the victory.
"We thought we had some momentum [going into overtime]", Spann said. "But we didn't make the stops and big plays we needed to make."
While Smith, who scored 30 points, was the difference in overtime, the rebounding of the Cougars and big man Louis Truscott was the difference in regulation. The Houston junior snagged 20 rebounds while scoring 18 points, nearly all on offensive putbacks. Houston held a 40-33 advantage on the glass, including 19 offensive rebounds. Tulane added 16 offensive boards of its own, including a career-high seven by Hollingsworth.
"Houston came out and dominated the glass," Tulane coach Shawn Finney said. "Truscott was a man out there with 20 offensive rebounds. It shows how hard Ray's team [Houston coach Ray McCollum] competes and how athletic they are."
After a Smith free throw, Tulane earned its first lead of the second half on a baseline jumper from freshman Ben Benfield (River Ridge, La.), making it 63-62 with 5:22 to go.
The teams traded hoops until Smith scored a wide-open fast-break layup after a Kevin Gaines steal with 54 seconds to go, making it 68-67 in favor of the Cougars.
Brown hit one-of-two free throws to tie the game for the fourth time, but Smith came back with a clutch driving hoop with 8.2 seconds to go.
The Wave moved the ball past midcourt before calling timeout to set up Marsh's game-tying hoop.
"Our first option was the three-pointer," Finney said. "The second option was the drive to the hole. They took away the three, so we took it inside."
Next up for the Green Wave is its final regular season road game at Charlotte on Saturday at 1 p.m. The Green Wave closes the regular season at home, hosting TCU on Feb. 26, and Saint Louis on Mar. 2.
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