Men's Basketball Back in Action on Wednesday at Hofheinz Pavilion
Feb. 14, 2011
HOUSTON - Fresh off an impressive win in front of its largest home crowd, the University of Houston men's basketball team returns to action at 7 p.m., Wednesday, when it plays host to Conference USA rival SMU inside Hofheinz Pavilion.
The Cougars (12-11 4-6 C-USA) enter Wednesday's game on the heels of a dominating 79-68 win against league-foe Tulane on Saturday. Although Tulane jumped out to an 8-0 lead through the first two-and-a-half minutes, the Cougars used a 15-3 run during the next five minutes to build a lead they would never relinquish.
With that victory, Houston won its 10th game at Hofheinz Pavilion this season in front of 5,144 fans, topping the previous season high of 4,513 against UTEP on Jan. 22. It also marked the seventh straight season that the Cougars earned double-digit wins in front of the hometown fans.
The program had not accomplished that feat since Hofheinz Pavilion opened with nine straight 10-win seasons from 1969 to 1978.
Against Tulane, senior forward Maurice McNeil led the Cougars with 15 points and 11 rebounds for his team-leading eighth double-double of the season. The New York native connected on 7-of-13 shots from the field and added an assist and steal in 32 minutes.
Senior guard Zamal Nixon led the Cougars with 17 points against the Green Wave, thanks to an 11-of-11 performance from the free throw line. The Brooklyn, N.Y., native has nailed his last 13 free throw attempts and currently leads the Cougars and the league with a 92.3 free throw percentage.
This season, senior guard Adam Brown continues to lead the Cougars with 13.9 points per game and ranks among the C-USA individual leaders in scoring, field-goal percentage, 3-point field goals made per game, free throw percentage and minutes played.
McNeil ranks second among the Cougars with 13.1 points per game but tops the team with 8.1 rebounds per contest to stand sixth in the league.
Fans also can buy the Houston Hoops 4-Pack for the UAB (Feb. 26) game at Hofheinz Pavilion. For only $48, fans can receive 4 general admission tickets, 4 small drinks, 4 hot dogs and 4 hats (selected styles) from the UH Fan Shop for only $48.
If more than four tickets are needed, each additional ticket purchased will cost only $12 each and will receive the extra items.
The Houston Hoops 4-Pack will not be available on game days at the Hofheinz Pavilion ticket windows.
Fans have several options when ordering their men's basketball tickets. They can visit the Athletics Ticket Office, located on the first floor of the Athletics/Alumni Center by the UH Fan Shop, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Fans also can call 713-GO-COOGS (462-6647) or click the Tickets link at UHCougars.com to buy tickets today.
In its most recent action, SMU dropped a 67-57 decision at UTEP on Saturday. That loss snapped a season-best five-game winning streak for the Mustangs.
Against UTEP, forward Papa Dia led SMU with 18 points on 8-of-15 shooting and added a game-high 10 rebounds. Guard Collin Mangrum and guard Jeremiah Samarripas posted 10 points apiece to lead the Mustangs.
This season, Dia leads SMU with 18.0 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. Forward Robert Nyakundi ranks second on the team with 15.5 points per game and is the only other Mustang to average double-digit points. Samarrippas tops the team with 3.6 assists per game.
Head coach Matt Doherty is in his fifth year at SMU and 10th season overall. He has compiled a 62-84 (.425) record with the Mustangs and is 152-155 (.495) overall. Doherty is 1-10 (.091) against Houston with all those games coming at SMU.
He previously served as the head coach at Notre Dame (1999-00), North Carolina (2000-03) and Florida Atlantic (2005-06).
Houston has won 10 of the last 11 games against SMU, including a 70-68 win in Dallas on Jan. 15 in the most recent meeting.
Only a 94-83 SMU win in Dallas on Feb. 27, 2010, prevents a much longer Houston winning streak. SMU's win a year ago was the first since a 94-69 setback in Dallas on Dec. 17, 2000.
The Cougars have posted a 21-6 (.778) all-time record against SMU in Houston. Houston has won its last five home meetings against SMU. The Cougars have not lost to SMU at Hofheinz Pavilion since a 94-80 setback on Nov. 27, 1999.
From there, the team meets Memphis at 8 p.m., Feb. 22, at the FedExForum in Memphis, Tenn. That game will be televised live on CBS College Sports.