HOUSTON (Ticker) -- Andre Owens' outside shooting lifted Houston to one of its biggest wins in almost 10 years.
Owens tied a school record with seven 3-pointers, including one with 21 seconds remaining, and Lanny Smith hit two free throws with 10 seconds left to give Houston a 70-67 victory over No. 16 Louisville in the Conference USA opener for both teams.
"This was a fun win, and coach had gotten in my face about how I played the previous time, so I knew I had to step up," Owens said.
Owens was 1-of-5 for a season-low four points against Texas A & M on December 29.
It marks the first time the Cougars have beaten a ranked opponent since Houston beat 21st-ranked Tulsa, 79-77 in double overtime, on December 4, 1996. It also marks the first time Houston has beaten Louisville since the Cougars won, 89-81, on February 21, 1993.
Houston (9-5, 1-0 C-USA) led throughout most of the second half but Louisville rallied behind freshman Juan Palacios, who connected on a 3-pointer to break a 62-62 tie with 1:46 left. He finished with 20 points.
On his way to a season-high 27 points, Owens retied the game with a shot from the arc with just over a minute remaining. After Francisco Garcia scored on a jumper, Owens connected from 3-point range again for a 68-67 advantage.
"The three to tie it, I got a good look, and I knew it was going down," Owens said. "The three that gave us the lead with 20 seconds, I just felt it. We changed to our motion offense, and that's harder for people to cover. I got my rhythm and let it fly."
Garcia committed a costly charging foul with 13 seconds left, and Smith made it a three-point game with his two free throws. Smith finished with 12.
"Those last two free throws with the pressure on, I wasn't shaken," Smith said. "We've been practicing every night, the whole team out here shooting for two or three hours, so I was prepared - two didn't seem like much."
"What a great experience to be on the floor both when Andre's three went down, and again at the end after Lanny drained both free throws," Houston coach Tom Penders said. "The emotion, the noise from the crowd that washed over us - that's what its all about."
Taquan Dean had a chance to tie the game for Louisville (11-3, 0-1) as time was running out, but his shot from the corner fell off the side of the rim.
"Houston deserves the credit tonight, they made big shots down the stretch," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. "We came back, but made fundamental mistakes; give Houston all the credit.
"We didn't block out tonight, and we had too many turnovers. Those two factors are the Achilles heel of this team. We gave 18 second chance shots and had 24 turnovers, and you are not going to win when you play that way."