By Brett Dolan

The Houston Cougars fell to Akron 78-75 in a first round N.I.T. game Wednesday night at Texas Southern’s HP& E Arena, in a contest that featured 16 lead changes and 15 ties.

Houston had the opportunity to host every game in its’ quadrant of the tournament after the top seeded Cal Bears lost Tuesday night. However the second seeded Coogs fell to the Zips (27-8) out of the Mid-American Conference to end their season.

Nine of the 16 first round N.I.T. games were won by the higher seeded team.

Rob Gray led the Cougars (21-11) in scoring with 24 points. Damyean Dotson added 19 and surpassed the 1,000 career point plateau in the loss.

Rice scored 50 points in the second half of their 85-76 win over San Francisco in a first-round CBI game at Tudor Fieldhouse.

The Owls (23-11) were making their first post-season appearance since 2011-’12. The 23 wins are the second most in Rice history and the most since 1953-’54. The Owls will advance to host Utah Valley Monday night at Tudor.



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