Jan. 12, 2007
The University of Houston looks for its first Conference USA win when the Cougars play host to SMU this Saturday afternoon at 5:00 p.m. in Hofheinz Pavilion. The game is being nationally televised by CSTV.
Houston enters the game with a 5-7 record after suffering its fifth straight loss (79-69) against 19th-ranked Memphis in the Cougars' C-USA opening game. Houston also suffered a 77-70 loss at Kentucky on Jan. 3, 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.
SMU enters the game with an 11-4 record , but the Mustangs are 0-1 in C-USA play after suffering a 57-56 loss against Southern Miss in their C-USA opening game last Wednesday night in Dallas. In that game, SMU missed two shots in the final 92 seconds after Andre Stephens scored a lay-up to give the Golden Eagles the lead. Devon Pearson and Ike Ofoegbu led SMU with 12 points each, while Derrick Roberts added 11 and Jon Killen scored 10.
Houston enters the SMU game with two of the top eight Conference USA scoring leaders and one of the top seven C-USA rebounding leaders in Conference USA. Junior guard Robert McKiver, who ranks third among the league's scoring leaders with 18.4 points per game after scoring 27 points against Memphis and 16 points at Kentucky. Senior guard Oliver Lafayette is averaging 15.2 points per contest and ranks eighth among C-USA scoring leaders after scoring team-highs of six points against Memphis, 19 points at Kentucky and 16 points against UNLV.
Senior forward Jahmar Thorpe is averaging 6.2 rebounds per game, and ranks seventh among C-USA rebounding leaders. He also is chipping in with 8.8 points per game.
Junior forward Dion Dowell is averaging 15.6 points and 7.9 rebounds in seven games this season, but has not played in enough games to be ranked by Conference USA.
In his first season as head coach Matt Doherty has led SMU to an 11-4 record. The Mustangs enter Saturday's game with 2-2 record in road games and a 2-0 record at the Colonial Classic in Tallahassee, Fla. SMU beat Centenary and TCU in two road games. The two road losses were at Florida State and Oklahoma. The Mustangs are 7-2 in Moody Coliseum this season. Senior forward Ike Ofoegbu leads SMU in scoring and is tied for the team lead in rebounding with averages of 12.8 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. Senior forward Devon Pearson averages 11.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per contest. Senior guard Derrick Roberts leads SMU's backcourt with a 99.4 scoring average, while Jon Killen is averaging 8.5 points and 5.6 assists per game.