Danuel House had 17 points, nine rebounds and five assists as the host Cougars held off a second-half charge to beat the Bulls.

L.J. Rose had 16 points and five assists for Houston (16-14, 8-9 American Athletic Conference), which shot 55.1 percent from the field, including 12-of-23 from 3-point range. Jherrod Stiggers added 15 points off the bench, helping make up for an off night by leading scorer TaShawn Thomas, who finished with eight points, half his season average.

Victor Rudd scored 25 points to lead the way for South Florida (12-18, 3-14), which dropped its seventh straight game. Martino Brock contributed 19 points off the bench for the Bulls, outscoring by three the total of the other four South Florida starters.

The Cougars seemed in control for much of the first half, taking a nine-point advantage with just over five minutes to play on Thomas' dunk. But the Bulls responded with a 12-2 run to take a one-point lead before Stiggers' 3-pointer with two seconds left gave the Cougars a two-point halftime advantage.

Houston scored the first seven points of the second half to re-establish its comfortable advantage, pushing the lead to as many as 15 with more than 13 minutes to go. The Bulls scored the next 12 points to make it interesting again, and tied the game with 5:33 to go, but the Cougars' 15-3 run over the next 4:53 ended all hopes of a come-from-behind win.

GAME NOTEBOOK: South Florida made 1-of-9 from 3-point range and 12-of-24 from the free-throw line. … The Cougars won the rebound battle 35-28. … The win clinched the No. 6 seed in the upcoming AAC tournament for the Cougars, giving them an opening-round bye.