March 10, 2010
From staff and wire reports
TULSA, Okla. --- Aubrey Coleman scored 29 points lead seventh-seeded Houston over 10th-seeded East Carolina, 93-80, in the first round of the 2010 GMC Sierra Conference USA Men's Basketball Championship Wednesday.
With the victory Houston (16-15) advances to the quarterfinals of the tournament to face second-seeded Memphis Thursday at 12 p.m. CST.
Brock Young had 24 points to lead East Carolina (10-21) in the final game for coach Mack McCarthy, who will move into a fundraising position at the school. Darrius Morrow tied his career-high with 22 points.
Kelvin Lewis had 15 points for the Cougars. Houston began to empty its bench and run clock with more than 10 minutes remaining when it had a 23-point lead.
After Morrow scored the game's opening basket, Houston scored the next six points and never trailed beyond that point. The Cougars stretched their lead to on a breakaway dunk from Coleman with 9:40 left in the first half. ECU cut the lead to four, 36-32, with 3:49 to play, but Houston scored nine unanswered points and held a 50-37 lead at halftime.
A pair of 3s by Sean Coleman at the outset pushed the lead to 19. Back-to-back 3s from Aubrey Coleman extended the Cougars' lead to 26, 78-52, with 11:44 left.
East Carolina crept within 88-78 with 3:49 to play, forcing Houston to call timeout and put the starters back in the game. The Pirates got as close as 90-81 before Coleman scored his final basket on a lay-up with a minute left.