TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- TaShawn Thomas scored 16 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and Houston moved on to the second round of the Conference USA tournament with a 72-67 win over Rice on Wednesday.
Danuel House had 14 points and eight rebounds, Joseph Young had 10 points and the sixth-seeded Cougars shot 51.9 percent from the field to win their fourth straight contest.
Houston (19-11) led 17-14 midway through the first half before using a 19-4 run capped off by a Thomas jumper to make it 36-18 with 2:34 remaining before halftime.
Tamir Jackson had 30 points and nine rebounds for Rice (5-26), which battled back in the second half to take a 54-51 lead off an Austin Ramljak 3-pointer with 10:30 to go.
With his team down by two and 2:33 to play, House converted a three-point play to give Houston a 68-67 lead and the Cougars never trailed again.
Houston will play third-seeded UTEP in quarterfinals of the C-USA tourney Thursday.