Senior point guard Carl Blair hit the game-winning free throw with 5.95 seconds remaining in the second half to lift the Prairie View A&M Panthers to an 81-80 victory over the University of Houston before 4,900 fans in the William J. Nicks Building on Wednesday night.
In an emotionally charged contest which went back-and-forth the entire night, Prairie View A&M built an early seven-point lead on two occasions in the second half before Houston roared back with an 11-4 run to tie the game at 52-all with 15:17 remaining.
PV’s Jules Montgomery broke the tie with a jumper at the 13:50 mark but the Cougars countered with a free throw from freshman Daniel House to tie the game at 54-all. House gave Houston its first lead since the 10:44 mark of the first half with a layup but Blair nailed two free throws to tie the game at 56-all. Jourdan DeMuynck scored off an offensive rebound on PV’s next possession to move the Panthers back ahead 58-56 at the 11:14 mark. From that point, the Panthers held ground and led by as much as five points on several occasions over the next four minutes but UH refused to go away as they put forth a 7-0 run which allowed them to reclaim a 70-68 advantage with 5:49 left on the clock following a dunk from TaShawn Thomas.
Sensing the momentum going the way of UH, sophomore point guard Montrael Scott nailed a huge three-pointer 20 seconds later to move PV back on top 71-70. J.J. Thompson scored a driving layup to move UH back ahead 72-71 with 4:21 remaining but Scott answered with 1-of-2 free throws two possessions later to knot the contest at 72-all. After Scott’s missed free throw, Montgomery came up with a big offensive rebound and the Panthers reclaimed a 74-72 lead as Josh Eleby dunked in the go-ahead basket.
The Panthers held on for dear life from that point as DeMuynck nailed 4-of-4 free throws from the charity stripe coupled with a big basket from junior Rasi Jenkins to give PV an 80-75 advantage with 1:11 left in regulation. Ten seconds later, J.J. Thompson answered with another layup in the paint to draw the Cougars within 80-77. Prairie View A&M began to milk the clock from that point with the intention of scoring a late basket for a two-possession lead. However, DeMuynck was whistled for a charging foul which gave UH the ball with 31 seconds remaining.
With 21 ticks left, the Cougars responded in a big way as Jherrod Stiggers drained a game-tying three-pointer near the top of the key for an 80-80 tie. PV ran the clock down on its next possession and Blair was sent to the line after a J.J. Thompson foul with 5.9 seconds left.
An 80 percent shooter from the free throw line entering the game, Blair missed the first free throw which led to a PV timeout. Blair, who hit the game-winner versus Navy last week, regained his composure on the second attempt and nailed the shot to put PV ahead 81-80.
UH had one last attempt to win the game but Joseph Young’s layup attempt fell short at the buzzer.
DeMuynck led the Panthers with 27 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Blair followed with 15 points and 10 assists while Scott finished with 10 points. UH was led by Tashawn Thomas’ 23 points and 11 rebounds.
The Panthers return to action next Friday night as they’ll host Dallas Christian at 7 p.m.
– Courtesy: Prairie View A&M Sports Information