HOUSTON - Behind outstanding long-range shooting, the University of Houston Men's Basketball program began the Kelvin Sampson Era in impressive fashion on Saturday afternoon with a dominating 108-83 win against North Alabama in an exhibition contest inside Hofheinz Pavilion.
Five Cougars drained at least one 3-pointer in the win, led by junior guard Jherrod Stiggers, who sank a game-high six treys in the win, on the way to 20 points. Sophomore forward Danrad Knowles added four treys in as many attempts to total 20 points of his own, while junior guard Eric Weary, Jr., nailed 4-of-6 3-point attempts. Junior point guard Cavon Baker added two treys, and junior guard LeRon Barnes converted one to lead the long-range attack.
As a team, the Cougars hit 53.1 percent (17-of-32) beyond the arc, including an impressive 57.1 percent (11-of-19) in the first half as Houston build a 55-40 lead.
The Cougars built a quick 24-8 lead just seven-and-a-half minutes into the game before the Lions roared back to move to 27-25 with eight minutes remaining in the opening half.
However, Houston sank 3-pointers on six of their next seven baskets led by Weary, Jr.'s three treys to push their lead back to double digits and never trailed by fewer than eight points the rest of the way.
The Cougars' hot shooting certainly wasn't limited to the 3-point line. Houston hit 69.0 percent (20-of-29) of its 2-point attempts and finished the day at 60.7 percent overall from the field.
Knowles drained eight of nine attempts from the field, including all four 3-point tries, for 20 points and added four rebounds. Stiggers sank half of his 12 3-point attempts to go with five rebounds, two assists and three steals in 36 minutes.
Barnes finished 7-of-9 from the field for 19 points with six rebounds and four assists. Weary totaled 16 points with three rebounds and three assists, while Baker enjoyed a double-double with 12 points and game highs of 10 assists and four steals. Junior forward Devonta Pollard added 11 points with five rebounds, two assists, two blocks and a pair of steals.
North Alabama's Calvin Dade led all players with 23 points and 10 rebounds, while guard Nathan Spehr totaled 19 points with three 3-pointers and three assists to lead the Lions. Brandon Herman totaled 15 points with five rebounds and four assists in the loss.
Following Saturday's exhibition game, the Cougars open the 2014-15 regular season when they travel to face Murray State at 7 p.m., Nov. 14, in Murray, Ky. It will be the first time the Cougars have faced the Racers on the hardwood since 1955.
From there, the Cougars return to the friendly confines of Hofheinz Pavilion to open their home schedule against Morgan State on Saturday, Nov. 22. That game time has not yet been determined and will be announced after the game time for Houston Football's home finale against Tulsa has been released.
Season ticket packages start for as low as $99 in the Reserved 3 section for 17 regular-season home games inside Hofheinz Pavilion. The Memorial Hermann Family Plan, which includes two adult and two kids' season tickets, can be purchased for only $399 in the Reserved 2 section for the entire regular-season home schedule.
Fans can purchase season tickets online by visiting uhcougars.com/mbbtickets and following the appropriate links or by clicking here. To view a map of Hofheinz Pavilion with season ticket pricing, fans can click here.
Fans can call 713-GO-COOGS (462-6647) or visit the Athletics Ticket Office from 10 a.m., to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. To purchase tickets in person, fans can visit the Athletics Ticket Office located on the northeast corner of TDECU Stadium, just outside of Gate 1 off Cullen Boulevard. Parking is available in the TDECU Stadium parking garage with the first 30 minutes free of charge.
All UH main campus students are admitted FREE to regular-season Men's Basketball home games with a valid student ID.
Fans also have a choice of a pair of mini plans when choosing their ticket options. With the Conference Pack, fans can purchase tickets to each of the Cougars' nine American Athletic Conference home games inside Hofheinz Pavilion, starting at only $8 per game in the Reserved 3 section.
Fans can choose the 3-Point Pack and pick any three of the Cougars' 17 regular-season home games with prices starting as low as $9 per game in the Reserved 3 section.
Tickets for groups of 10 or more can be purchased for as low as $9 per ticket in Reserved 3 (Section 101-102, 115-116, 126-128) for 17 regular-season home games inside Hofheinz Pavilion. Groups of 10 or more can buy tickets for only $14 per ticket in the Reserved 2 (Sections 103-104, 109-111, 117-119 and 124-125), while Reserved 3 seats (Section 105-108, 120-123) are available at $19 per ticket.
The ticket cost per person falls even more for groups of 25 or more. Group administrators are encouraged to call or visit the Athletics Ticket Office soon to secure their seats.
For a map of Hofheinz Pavilion group seating sections and prices, fans can click here. Fans can purchase group tickets online by visiting UHCougars.com and following the appropriate links or by clicking here, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Fans can receive the latest news and notes by following @UHCougarMBK on Twitter. Fans also can discuss the latest Houston Men's Basketball news and notes on the team's Facebook page by clicking LIKE at HoustonCougarMensHoops.