HOUSTON -- Maurice McNeil had 23 points, 13 rebounds and six blocked shots to lead Houston past Rice 83-66 Wednesday night as the cross-town rivals opened Conference USA play.
Aubrey Coleman scored 22 points for the Cougars (8-6, 1-0), who snapped a three-game losing streak. Kelvin Lewis scored 18 points, and Desmond Wade added 11 points and 10 assists.The Owls (6-8, 0-1) got 19 points from Tamir Jackson, 15 from Lawrence Ghoram and 10 from Trey Stanton. Arsalan Kazemi grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds.Coleman scored eight of Houston's first 13 points. The Cougars' biggest lead of the first half was 31-24.Rice trimmed a four-point halftime deficit to 38-37 just after the break, but Houston went on a 28-10 run for a 66-47 lead with 9:03 left and coasted from there.The Cougars outshot the Owls 50.0 percent (31 of 62) to 40.0 percent (22 of 55).