A four-star recruit, Danuel House shocked many in last year's class when he opted to play at Houston over offers from schools like Texas, Kansas, Georgetown and Ohio State. And the Conference USA Freshman of the Year continued his great season by knocking the home-state Longhorns out of the opening round of the College Basketball Invitational with a jumper with 17 seconds left.
House's shot put Houston up 73-72, and Julien Lewis, who scored a career-high 25 for the 'Horns, saw his final shot go awry with about five seconds left. Ioannis Papapetrou grabbed the offensive rebound, but couldn't control it, and the Cougars pulled off their 20th win of the season.
Texas actually trailed by five points with less than three minutes left before mounting a comeback. Myck Kabongo dropped in a layup, then Lewis connected on a jumper with just under two minutes remaining to cut the lead to one. And Kabongo made a pair of free throws with 52 seconds remaining to put the Longhorns up one on the road, setting up House's shot.
Lewis kept the Longhorns in the game with his scoring, but he was hardly the only good performance for the 'Horns. Kabongo scored 17 points, dished out six assists and stole the ball four times, while freshman Prince Ibeh had his best performance as a Longhorn, scoring 12 points, grabbing 11 rebounds — seven offensive — and blocking five shots in 23 minutes off the bench.
Lewis has averaged 19.0 points per game over Texas's last three games. The Longhorns needed that production — those three went 20-for-37 (54.1 percent) — on a night when the rest of the Texas team shot 7-for-31 (22.6 percent).
Houston was more balanced. The Cougars got 18 points and five assists from Joseph Young and 15 points and 10 rebounds from TaShawn Thomas. House scored 11 points, grabbed nine rebounds and had five assists and two steals in a stat-stuffing performance. Leon Gibson scored another 11 points as well, while Leron Barnes scored eight points on 4-for-4 shooting in eight minutes.
The game was close throughout with 14 lead changes, and Houston (20-12) just made the final play down the stretch. Texas finishes the year at 16-18, the Longhorns' first losing record under coach Rick Barnes.