HOUSTON - Senior forward Devonta Pollard poured in a career-high 25 points and added nine rebounds to lead the University of Houston Men's Basketball program to a 110-69 win over Prairie View A&M on Wednesday evening inside Hofheinz Pavilion.
Shooting 57.6 percent from the field, the Cougars scored the game's first nine points and never trailed in winning their 51st season opener in 71 attempts during their all-time history. Houston built a 52-33 halftime lead while limiting the Panthers to only 35.5 percent from the field and forced 19 PVAMU turnovers in the game.
Pollard connected on 7-of-11 tries from the field and buried all 11 free throw attempts for only the second 20-point game of his career. The Porterville, Miss., native added nine rebounds with two assists, three blocks and three steals and only one turnover in 28 minutes of action.
In addition to their hot shooting from the field, the Cougars used even better shooting from the free throw line. Houston missed only one free throw attempt in 26 tries for a 96.2 percentage. It was the second-highest single-game mark in school history and the highest by any Houston team with 20+ free throw tries.
Head Coach Kelvin Sampson improved to 21-2 all-time in season openers during his career (Montana Tech records unavailable) and won his the seventh straight season. The Cougars also enjoyed the first 100-point game during Sampson's tenure and posted the program's most points since a 110-57 win over Alcorn State exactly five years earlier (Nov. 18, 2009).
Making his Houston debut, junior guard and Yates High product Damyean Dotson added 21 points with a team-high three 3-pointers and snared six rebounds with a pair of assists.
Junior guard Ronnie Johnson - one of seven Cougars who made their Houston debuts - scored 17 points with six rebounds and a game-high six assists and only one turnover in 23 minutes. Sophomore guard Rob Gray, Jr., came off the bench to post 12 points with two rebounds and two assists.
Prairie View A&M guard Tevin Bellinger led the Panthers with 19 points, while forward Admassu Williams totaled 17 points with team-highs of seven rebounds, two blocks and four steals.
Following Wednesday's opener, the Cougars continue their homestand when they play host to Florida A&M at 7 p.m., Saturday, inside Hofheinz Pavilion.
That game can be seen heard live on 950 AM KPRC with Matt Thomas calling the play-by-play action and Houston legend and Hall of Famer Elvin Hayes providing analysis. Dave Raymond will call the play-by-play, and Houston great Reid Gettys offers analysis on the ESPN3 broadcast.
It will be the second of five consecutive regular-season home games for the Cougars to open the season.
HOW TO ORDER TICKETS
Fans have a variety of ticket options to accommodate any budget. Season tickets, group tickets, single-game tickets and 3-Point Packs are on sale now. To purchase tickets or for complete information, fans can visit uhcougars.com/tickets and follow the appropriate links or click here.
Fans also 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.
Single-game tickets for Houston Men's Basketball's 2015-16 season begin at only $5 per game. Fans can purchase General Admission single-game tickets for only $5, while Reserved 2 seating is available for only $10 per game. Fans may buy Reserved 1 single-game tickets for $15 per ticket.
Fans can purchase single-game tickets by clicking here.
Fans should note that single-game tickets for the Cougars' Dec. 13 showdown against LSU inside Hofheinz Pavilion will not be available.
Instead, fans can purchase tickets for the LSU game as part of a 3-Point Pack, which includes a ticket to the LSU game and tickets to two other Houston home games inside Hofheinz Pavilion. Reserved 1 seating for the 3-Point Pack can be purchased for $40 with Reserved seating available for only $30.
Fans can purchase the 3-Point Pack by clicking here.
Tickets for groups of 10-24 or more can be purchased for as low as $12 per ticket in Reserved 2 for 18 regular-season home games inside Hofheinz Pavilion. Groups of more than 25 people can buy Reserved 2 tickets for only $10 per ticket
Groups of 10-24 can buy tickets for only $10 per ticket in Reserved 2 with prices plummeting to only $6 per ticket for groups of 25 or more.
Administrators can find more information about group tickets seating and pricing by clicking here.
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.