Jan. 9, 2007
Houston, Texas - The University of Houston men's basketball opens its Conference USA schedule on Thursday, Jan. 11, when the Cougars play host to C-USA preseason favorite, the University of Memphis, in a nationally-televised game at Hofheinz Pavilion. The game tips off at 8:00 p.m. (CST) on ESPN.
Houston enters the game with a 5-7 record after suffering its fourth straight loss (77-70) at Kentucky on Jan. 3. The Cougars also suffered a 78-62 loss against UNLV in Hofheinz Pavilion on Dec. 30, along with a 70-57 setback against Nebraska and an 80-72 loss versus Creighton in the final two rounds of the 43rd Annual Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic. Houston's last win was against Charlotte, 68-46, in the first round of the Rainbow Classic.
UH enters the Memphis game with two of the top eight scoring and rebounding leaders in Conference USA. Junior guard Robert McKiver, who ranks third among the league's scoring leaders with 17.7 points per game after scoring 16 points at Kentucky. Senior guard Oliver Lafayette is averaging 16.0 points per contest and ranks eighth among C-USA scoring leaders after scoring team-highs of 19 points at Kentucky and 16 points against UNLV.
Junior forward Dion Dowell is averaging 17.5 points and 8.7 rebounds in six games this season, but has not played in enough games to be ranked by Conference USA.
LOOKING AT THE TIGERS
Memphis enters the game with an 11-3 record after beating Cincinnati, 88-55, last Thursday, Jan. 4 in Memphis. It was the Tigers' third straight win at home with the other two wins being over Lamar (87-62) and Middle Tennessee (86-46). Memphis has a 9-0 record in home games this season, including a 78-59 victory over Marshall in a C-USA game on Dec. 4.
Memphis, ranked 19th in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll and 20th by the Associated Press, is led by Chris Douglas-Roberts and Jeremy Hunt. Douglas-Roberts leads Memphis with 15.1 points per game, and Hunt averages 13.8 points as the Tigers sixth man. Robert Dozier is averaging 11.2 points and 6.1 rebounds, and Kareem Cooper averages 8.2 points and 6.2 rebounds per contest in six games. Joey Dorsey averages 7.5 points and leads C-USA in rebounding with a 9.4 average.
HOUSTON VS. MEMPHIS
This marks the 26th time that Houston and Memphis have played against each other and the Cougars enter the game with a 10-15 series record against the Tigers.
The series began on Dec. 8, 1956, when Memphis won an 87-78 decision in Houston. The Tigers also won, 96-86, in Memphis the following year. The two schools did not play each other again until the 1983 NCAA Regional Semifinals in Kansas City, when Houston won, 70-63. The Cougars also defeated the Tigers, 78-71, in at the 1984 NCAA Regional at St. Louis. Houston also won two straight games in Houston. The first victory (69-67) came on Jan. 6, 1996. The Cougars also won, 72-67 in overtime, on Feb. 12, 1997, in the first Conference USA game played between the two schools.
UH enters Thursday night's game with a 7-12 record versus Memphis in C-USA play. The Cougars are 3-5 against the Tigers in C-USA home games.
Last season, Memphis won both meetings in the Fed Ex Forum between the two schools. The Tigers won, 69-62, during the regular season, and 68-54 in the semifinals of the C-USA Tournament.