Feb. 16, 2007
After winning seven of its last nine games, the University of Houston men's basketball returns to Conference USA action in a nationally-televised game, when the Cougars play host to UAB on Saturday, Feb. 17, at 5:00 p.m. in Hofheinz Pavilion. The game is being promoted as "Operation Sellout" and fans can purchase all remaining reserved and general admission tickets to the game for $5.
Fans can purchase remaining reserve and general admission tickets for $5 by calling (713) GO-COOGS (462-6647) or on-line at www.UHCougars.com
This is a great way to experience the excitement of UH Basketball this season.
The game will be televised by CSTV with Carter Backburn calling the play-by-play and Steve Lappas providing color commentary.
Looking At Houston
Houston enters the game with a 13-11 overall record and own a 7-3 C-USA mark after suffering a 67-61 loss against South Alabama in its final non-conference regular season game. Houston had won two straight games against East Carolina (83-59, on Feb. 10 in Hofheinz Pavilion) and SMU (64-49, on Feb. 7 in Dallas).
The Cougars feature two of the top seven scoring leaders and two of the top 16 rebounding leaders in Conference USA this season. Junior guard Robert McKiver ranks second among the league's scoring leaders with 18.8 points per game after scoring 21.3 points per game in Houston's first 10 C-USA contests. Senior guard Oliver Lafayette is averaging 14.1 points per contest and ranks seventh among the leagues scoring leaders.
Lafayette is 10th among C-USA rebounding leaders with 6.0 rebounds per game. Senior forward Jahmar Thorpe also averages 5.9 rebounds per game and he ranks 13th among C-USA rebounding leaders. Thorpe chips in with 10.7 points per game, which is 24th among C-USA leaders, ranks fourth among C-USA field goal percentage leaders with 57.1 percent and sixth among C-USA free throw shooters with 78.1 percent.
Junior forward Dion Dowell is averaging 13.4 points and 6.3 rebounds in 17 games this season, but has not played in enough games to be ranked by C-USA.
Lafayette leads the league in steals with 2.4 per game and 13th in assists with a 3.25 average. McKiver ranks seventh in assists with a 3.8 average.
LOOKING AT THE BLAZERS
UAB enters the game with a 13-12 overall record and the Blazers own a 5-6 mark against C-USA opponents after winning their last two league games. UAB defeated Rice, 84-73, last Wednesday night and beat UTEP, 73-64, on Feb. 10.
In his first season at UAB, Mike Davis has led UAB to a 13-12 record, including a 5-6 C-USA record this season after compiling a 115-79 record in six seasons at Indiana. Junior guard Paul Delaney, III, leads the Blazers and ranks among C-USA's top five scoring and assists leaders. Delaney ranks fifth among scoring leaders with 16.3 points per game and second in assists with a 5.4 average.
Senior guard Wen Mukubu is averaging 13.8 points and 5.8 rebounds per game, while shooting 41.3 percent behind the three-point line. Sophomore forward Lawrence Kinnard ranks third among team leaders with 13.0 points and leads the team with 6.1 rebounds per game.
HOUSTON VS. UAB
Houston enters Saturday's game against UAB looking for its fourth win in a series that began on Jan. 11, 1997 in Houston. The Cougars enter the game with a 3-14 record against the Blazers after UAB won the first eight games of the series. Houston won three of the next four contests, before UAB won the last four games, including an 82-79 decision in Birmingham last season.
HOUSTON-UAB LAST SEASON
After trailing by as many as 13 points with eight minutes left to play, Houston rallied to within one point before falling, 82-79, at UAB. The Blazers' Lawrence Kinnard hit three clutch baskets in the final minutes of the game. His biggest basket came on UAB's final possession with seven seconds remaining and the shot clock winding down. That is when Kinnard banked in a 10-foot jumper from the right wing between two defenders.
The Cougars called their final timeout and Chris Lawson drove to the top of the key and launched a three-point shot that Ramon Dyer rebounded. However, regulation ended before he could attempt another three-point try.
The game opened with both teams fighting back and forth in the first four and one-half minutes. Houston led 9-7 and extended its lead to 26-15 midway in the first half when Jahmar Thorpe made a jump shot from the free throw line with 10:50 remaining in the opening half.
The Blazers came right back with a run of their own, and pulled to within 33-32 on a jump shot by Kinnard.
UAB took back the lead in the final five minutes of the half and was leading, 46-44, when Oliver Lafayette was called for a blocking foul on Wen Mukubu's drive to the basket with 52 seconds left before halftime.
After the foul was called on Lafayette, Houston head coach Tom Penders collapsed on the sideline while getting up off the bench. After he knelt down on the floor in front of Houston's bench, one of the officials assessed a technical foul thinking that he was reacting to the foul called on Lafayette. But, the game was stopped and the crowd hushed when Penders didn't get back up right away. After Penders was carried off the court on a stretcher, the officials huddled, but refused to rescind the technical foul.
Squeaky Johnson made both free throws from the technical, and Mukubu made one of his two free throws to give the Blazers a 49-44 lead. Lawson scored on a lay-up with 28 seconds left to make the halftime score, 49-46.
After the game, Penders attributed the incident to dehydration and not eating the pre-game meal after working out earlier in the day. He returned to coach the Cougars in the second half.
In the second stanza, UAB held its biggest lead of 13 points, 72-59, when Brandon Tobias made two free throws with 8:12 left to play.
Houston chipped away at the lead the rest of the way, and pulled to within one, 80-79, when Lanny Smith drove the lane for a lay-up with 40 seconds left to play.
After UAB called its final timeout of the game, the Blazers worked the shot clock down to one before Kinnard hit shot.
Four Cougars scored in double figures, as Smith equaled his season high of 20 points to lead Houston, while Lafayette added 15 points and had three steals. Bryan Latham scored 11 points and had three steals, and Dyer scored 10 points despite playing just 13 minutes because of foul trouble.
Lawson came off the bench to scored six points, grab six rebounds and hand out seven assists, while Jahmar Thorpe netted nine points in 15 minutes.
Mukubu led UAB with 16 points, while Kinnard and Marvett McDonald scored 13 points each and Paul Delaney added 11.