Men's Basketball Team Plays Host To Saint Louis Monday Night

Jan. 28, 2007

Houston, Texas -

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After winning its third straight game and four of it last five contests, the University of Houston returns home to play a non-conference game against Saint Louis University at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, January 29.

The Cougars improved their record to 9-9 this season with a 77-61 victory at Marshall last Saturday night. The win also moved the Cougars into a three-way tie for second place in the Conference USA standings with a 4-2 league record. In addition to the victory at Marshall, Houston defeated UCF, 73-70 in overtime, last Wednesday night in Hofheinz Pavilion, and won a 69-67 decision at Tulsa on Jan. 20.

Saint Louis is 13-7 this season after defeating Charlotte, 76-63, in a nationally televised game last Thursday night. The Billikens are 3-4 in the Atlantic 10 this year, and have a 10-3 non-conference record. Saint Louis also won an 81-78 decision over Houston earlier this year in St. Louis. The win over Charlotte came after two straight road losses at Temple and Fordham. It also was the Billikens' third straight win in Atlantic 10 home games, with the other victories coming against Xavier and Rhode Island.

UH Alumni can get discounted tickets to Monday night's game against the Billikens ($10 for reserve tickets and $6 for general admission) by purchasing the tickets in advance Monday. To purchase the tickets, call (713) GO-COOGS or stop by the UH Ticket Office.

Robert McKiver and Oliver Lafayette combined for 35 points and all five Houston starters finished in double figures as the Cougars ran past Marshall, 77-61, Saturday night in the Henderson Center. McKiver scored 19 points and Lafayette added 16 points before fouling out with 2:18 left to play.

In addition to McKiver and Lafayette, Jahmar Thorpe scored 12, Marcus Malone added 11 and Dion Dowell finished with 10. Mark Dorris scored 21 points for Marshall and Markel Humphrey had 15. Houston jumped out of the gates early as the Cougars made the first three shots of the game. McKiver opened the game with a jumper from the top of the key. Lafayette nailed a three-point shot just left of the key and

Thorpe hit a jump shot from the free throw line. After Marshall tied the score at 7-7, Houston used a full-court press to take over the game. The Cougars forced 13 first-half turnovers and jumped out to a 27-12 lead midway through the second half.

With the score tied 7-7, Houston used a full-court press to take over, forcing 13 first-half turnovers and jumping to a 27-12 lead midway through the first half. Lafayette scored 13 first-half points as Houston raced to a 44-26 halftime lead.

In the second half, the Thundering Herd went to a 2-3 zone defense and Houston held the ball as Marshall was able to trim the deficit to 65-56 with 4:38 remaining to play.

After Marshall closed to within nine, Malone hit a pair of three-point jumpers from the left wing to push the lead back to 15. He also made two free throws with 1:24 left to extend Houston's lead to 77-60. Houston finished the game making 18-of-22 free throws and 11 3-pointers. McKiver went 11-of-12 from the line.

Houston enters Monday night's game with an 11-24 series record after suffering an 81-78 loss at Saint Louis earlier this season. The Cougars are 6-10 against the Billikens in games played at Houston after winning their last three home games against Saint Louis. The Cougars won, 71-51, on Feb. 19, 2001, 72-59 on Jan. 18, 2003, and 63-43 on Feb. 2, 2005.

Despite Oliver Lafayette's 24 points and Sam Anderson's 18 points off the bench, Houston could not overcome a 13-0 run by Saint Louis at the beginning of the second half as the Billikens escaped with an 81-78 win at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis on Nov. 25.

The Cougars fought back despite trailing by as much as 20 points, 71-51, with 7:06 left to play in the game. Lafayette scored 10 of his points down the stretch and Anderson hit a pair of three-point baskets to help the Cougars close to within three points, 76-73, with 1:29 left to play. But, the Billikens' Kevin Lisch made three of his four free throws, while Justin Johnson and Tommie Liddell combined for two more to hold off Houston's rally.

Robert McKiver's lay-up with 24 seconds left pulled Houston to within 80-78, but Liddell hit one of his two free throws to make the final score 81-78.

The game began much like the second half started as Saint Louis opened the game with a 14-0 lead before Robert Lee hit a three-point basket with 13:02 left to play in the first half.

The Cougars fought back in the opening period to take a 35-32 lead at halftime as Lafayette and Anderson scored 10 points each, and Lee finished the opening frame with seven points and 12 rebounds.

Saint Louis regained the momentum early in the second period as Lisch and Liddell hit back-to-back three-point shots. Then Dwayne Polk scored on a three-point play with a lay-up and a free throw while being fouled by Anderson. The Billikens extended their lead to 20 points, 71-51, before Houston made a valiant comeback try.

Lisch led Saint Louis with 27 points, while Liddell finished with 18 points and senior center Ian Vouyoukas added 16 points and 13 rebounds. Lee also finished with 13 points and a career-high 17 rebounds, while McKiver added 14 points for the Cougars, who fell to 3-1 this season.

All five of Houston's starters finished the Marshall game scoring in double figures. It is the second game this season that the Cougars have had five players end a game in double figures. Robert McKiver scored 19 points and Oliver Lafayette netted 16 points before fouling out with 2:17 to play against the Thundering Herd. Jahmar Thorpe finished with 12 points, Marcus Malone added 11 and Dion Dowell scored 10. Against Prairie View A&M, McKiver scored 33 points, Thorpe netted 20, Lafayette added 13 points, while Tafari Toney scored 12 and Robert Lee finished with 11.

Houston closes out the month of January with two home games in the span of three days. First, the Cougars return home to play a non-conference game against Saint Louis Monday night. Then, Houston returns to Conference USA action when the Cougars play host to cross-town rival Rice University this Wednesday night. Both games tip off at 7:00 p.m.

The Cougars enter the Saint Louis game with a 5-2 record in home games this season after defeating UCF, 73-70 in overtime, in their last home game on Jan. 24. Houston's other wins came against Monmouth, Grambling State, Prairie View A&M and SMU. The two losses wee against UNLV and Memphis.

Houston enters Monday night's game with a combined record of 30-6 during the past three seasons under head coach Tom Penders. The Cougars were 13-2 last season and 12-2 in 2004-05.



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