The Coogs tried their hardest to give it away in the last 15 minutes of the game. And any UH fan that denies thinking SDSU’s last-second shot was going in is flat-out lying.
But damn … what a great win for this City and the program that Guy V. Lewis built.
The Coogs built a first-half 13-point lead and went into the break ahead by 10. SDSU clawed away, scoring 36 in the 2nd half, but could never overcome a bad night at the line. Still, they had a chance late.
Aztec guard Devin Watson hit a 3 to tie the game with just over a minute left. At the other end, Rob Gray shucked a screen and buried a three from the top of the key. But Watson wasn’t finished: he made another 3-pointer to tie it again, this time at 65. The dueling 3-pointers in the last minute set up a dramatic finish from newly-minted Cougar legend Rob Gray.
Getting the ball with 28 seconds left, Gray let the clock wind down before he exploited a defensive breakdown and laid it in off the glass. SDSU had a chance at the buzzer but it wasn’t to be. Kelvin Sampson’s team held on for the school’s first NCAA win since March 31, 1984.
The box score bursts from Gray’s accomplishments tonight – the 39 and 8 will become ingrained in the minds of Cougars for years to come. But one thing the box score can’t account for is the burden that Gray lifted from the psyche of UH fans. Gray’s historic effort might not be the greatest in UH history but it will go down as one of the most important.
History will judge Gray’s last minute as one of the most clutch in school history. He delivered the outcome that the University of Houston has needed for 3 decades. The noose of “no wins since 1984” is finally dead, buried, and forgotten.