Men's Basketball Returns Home to Host Cincinnati on Tuesday
Jan. 5, 2014
HOUSTON - Winners of each of its first two American Athletic Conference games, the University of Houston Men's Basketball program returns to action at 8 p.m., Tuesday, to face Cincinnati inside Hofheinz Pavilion in a game presented by Smart Financial Credit Union.
Tuesday's game features two of the remaining three undefeated teams in The American play. The Cougars and Bearcats join defending national champion Louisville as the only 2-0 squads through the first week of league play.
With their quick start, the Cougars (10-5 2-0 The American) joined Louisville as the only teams in league history to start 2-0 in league play in both Football and Men's Basketball. With a win against the Bearcats on Tuesday, the Cougars will be the only school to start 3-0 in conference in both sports.
Fan should note that Houston Men's Basketball will not celebrate Guy V. Lewis Night on Tuesday as originally scheduled. That special event - to honor Coach Lewis and his family on his recent induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame - has been moved to the Cougars' Feb. 5 showdown against defending national champion Louisville.
The Cougars' surge to the top of The American standings comes despite being hit by the injury bug. Since the end of November, four starters - sophomore guard Danuel House, sophomore point guard L.J. Rose , senior forward J.J. Richardson and senior guard Tione Womack - have missed 16 games. That group has combined to make 26 starts in 2013-14.
Houston enters this week's game on the heels of an impressive 67-58 win at USF on Saturday afternoon in Tampa, Fla. Against the Bulls, junior forward TaShawn Thomas did a little of everything for the Cougars. The Killeen, Texas, native led all players with 13 points on 6-of-10 shooting and added four rebounds, five assists, six blocks and a career-high six steals with only one turnover in 35 minutes.
With his final rebound of the day, Thomas became only the 13th player in school history to post 1,100+ points AND 700+ rebounds during his career. He also moved into 28th on the Cougars' career scoring chart with 1,142 points.
Thomas was one of four Cougars to reach double digits against the Bulls. Senior guard Tione Womack posted a career-high 12 points and drained a huge three late in the game to thwart a USF rally and push the Cougars' lead back to nine points, while redshirt freshman forward Danrad Knowles added 12 points with five rebounds. Sophomore guard Jherrod Stiggers added 11 points with a pair of 3-pointers in the win.
This season, Thomas leads the Cougars with 17.5 points, 8.9 rebounds and 3.7 blocks per game. He is the only player to rank among The American's top-four leaders in both scoring and rebounding and is ranked among the top-9 national leaders in blocks and field goal percentage.
Stiggers stands third with 10.2 points per game and has drained a team-high 29 3-pointers, more than double his closest competitor on the team, while Knowles ranks among Houston's top-five leaders with 8.2 points and 4.8 rebounds per game.
Houston Men's Basketball Tickets are on sale NOW. Fans can purchase single-game, 3-, 6- and 9-game mini-plans by visiting or calling the Athletics Ticket Office at 713-Go-COOGS (462-6647) or 877-COUGAR-5 (268-4275) or by clicking here.
To secure parking spaces and to support student-athlete scholarships through Cougar Pride for the upcoming season, fans should contact Cougar Pride at 713-743-GoUH or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Fans also can visit UHCougars.com and click the Cougar Pride tab for more information.
ON THE AIR
Tuesday's game can be seen live on CBS Sports Network with Brad Johansen calling the play-by-play action and Steve Wolf providing analysis. Due to the television broadcast, video stream will NOT be available through Cougar All-Access.
Fans can hear Tuesday's game live on 950 AM KPRC with Matt Thomas calling play-by-play and Hall of Famer Elvin Hayes providing analysis or by clicking here. The pregame show will start at 7:45 p.m., Tuesday.
Fans can follow live stats by clicking the GameTracker link at UHCougars.com or by clicking here.
ABOUT CINCINNATI Cincinnati enters Tuesday's game with a 13-2 overall record and 2-0 mark in The American play. The Bearcats join Houston and Louisville as the only undefeated teams in American play.
Cincinnati has won its last six games and done so handily, winning by an average of 16.8 points per game. The Bearcats have not lost since a 64-47 loss to Xavier on Dec. 14, 2013.
In its most recent game, Cincinnati took a 69-53 win over #16 Memphis on Saturday. Against the Tigers, guard Sean Kilpatrick led all players with 18 points, thanks to a 7-of-9 performance from the free throw line. Forward Justin Jackson posted 13 points with a game-high eight rebounds, while forward Shaquille Thomas added 10 points with four rebounds and three steals.
This season, Kilpatrick leads Cincinnati with 18.6 points and 2.6 assists per game. Jackson stands second with 11.9 points per contest but leads the Bearcats with 7.7 rebounds per game.
Head coach Mick Cronin is in his eighth year at Cincinnati and his 11th season overall as a head coach. He has posted a 148-102 record at Cincinnati and assembled a 204-138 overall career mark.
Cronin, who is a 1997 graduate of Cincinnati, previously served as head coach at Murray State (2003-06, 69-24 record) and at Kent State (2001-02, 30-6 record).
Tuesday's game will be the first time that he has faced Houston.
Following Tuesday's game, the Cougars will take a break from their schedule before returning to action at 6 p.m. (CST), Jan. 16, against defending national champion Louisville inside the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Ky.
From there, the team returns to the friendly confines of Hofheinz Pavilion to play host to Rutgers at noon, Jan. 19.