Feb. 22, 2008
HOUSTON - The University of Houston men's basketball team returns to action at 7 p.m., Saturday as it plays host to Conference USA- and crosstown-rival Rice at Hofheinz Pavilion.
The Cougars look to return to their winning ways after enduring a disappointing 101-99 loss at UAB on Wednesday.
Senior guard Robert McKiver scored a career-high 41 points, including five 3-pointers, in the loss, which saw both teams shoot at least 49 percent from the field, at least 42 percent from behind the 3-point arc and at least 81 percent from the free throw line.
McKiver leads the Cougars with 22.0 points per game and ranks among the national individual leaders with four 3-pointers per game. Dowell is tops among the Cougars with 6.9 rebounds per contest.
The Cougars fell to 19-6 overall and dropped into a tie for second place with UAB at 8-3. Despite the loss, the Cougars remain in position to earn a first-round bye for the 2008 C-USA Championship.
Fans can hear Saturday's game live on 790 AM The Sports Animal with Tom Franklin calling the play-by-play action and Carl Dukes providing color analysis. The pregame show is slated to begin 10 minutes before tip-off.
Fans always can follow live stats at UHCougars.com by clicking on the GameTracker link.
This will be the second time that these two teams have met on the hardwood. The Cougars enjoyed a 69-60 win over the Owls on Jan. 23 at Reliant Arena. With that win, the Cougars improved to 52-14 all-time against Rice and enter Saturday's game as winners of three of their last four against the Owls.
This marks the 10th straight season and the 36th of the last 37 years that the Cougars have squared off against Rice in the series, which began during the 1971-72 campaign. The two teams did not meet during the 1996-97 season.
Rice comes into Saturday's game with a 3-22 overall record, 0-12 in C-USA games. The Owls bring a 15-game losing streak into the game and have not won since a 70-65 win over TCU on Dec. 29, 2007.
Paulius Packevicius leads the Owls with 11.1 points and 9.8 rebounds per game, while Rodney Foster and Jasen Williams have added 10.5 and 10.3 points per game, respectively.
With Saturday being such a busy day around the University of Houston Athletics Department, both Men's Basketball and Baseball fans are invited to join in the fun. The Cougar Baseball program continues its season-opening weekend against Pacific when it meets the Tigers at 3 p.m., Saturday at Cougar Field.
Fans can purchase reserved tickets for the Men's Basketball game against Rice for only $10. However, these discounted tickets only will be available at the Marketing table located on the concourse at Cougar Field during Saturday's baseball game against Pacific.
Representatives from the Marketing Office will be selling Men's Basketball tickets to the Rice game through the end of the seventh inning.
All Cougar fans are invited to come out to both games and enjoy a full day of Cougar Baseball and Men's Basketball.