Feb. 29, 2008
GREENVILLE, N.C. - The University of Houston men's basketball team returns to action this weekend when it faces Conference USA rival East Carolina at 6 p.m. (CST), Saturday at Williams Arena Minges Coliseum.
The Cougars (21-6, 10-3 CUSA) come into the game on the heels of a dominating 95-67 win over C-USA foe Southern Miss on Wednesday at Hofheinz Pavilion. In that game, senior guard Robert McKiver poured in a Hofheinz Pavilion-record 52 points to help lead the Cougars to the win.
McKiver's point total was the third-highest mark in UH single-game history and made the New Haven, Conn., only the fourth player in school history to score at least 50 points in a game. He joined Elvin Hayes, Lyle Harger and Don Boldebuck in that exclusive group.
It was the most points scored by any Cougar player in any conference game and was the highest point total by an NCAA Division I player during the 2007-08 season.
With that game added to his season total, McKiver raised his current average more than a point to its current 22.9 mark, second highest in C-USA.
Fans can hear Saturday's game live on 790 AM The Sports Animal with Tom Franklin calling the play-by-play action. 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.
As impressive as McKiver was against the Golden Eagles, the Cougar win certainly was not a one-man effort. Senior guard Marcus Malone poured in a season-high 17 points, while sophomore guard Kelvin Lewis added 11 points and a career-high eight rebounds and three assists.
With only one more win in their final three regular-season games, the Cougars will clinch a first-round bye for the 2008 C-USA Championship played at FedExForum in Memphis, Tenn., on March 12-15. However, the Cougars are looking for more wins to continue to add to their already impressive resume.
With 21 wins, UH the Cougars have equaled the 2005-06 and 1992-93 teams for the highest single-season win totals during the last 15 years. UH also has enjoyed back-to-back 10+-win seasons in C-USA, the first time that has been accomplished as a C-USA member and the first time overall since 1991-92 and 1992-93.
This marks the fifth consecutive season that the Cougars have faced ECU on the hardwood. The Cougars own a 5-1 lead in the all-time series, which began during the 2001-02 season and has been played every year since 2003-04.
The Pirates gained the early nod in the series with a 63-46 decision on Feb. 23, 2002, but the Cougars enter Saturday's game on a five-game winning streak against ECU.
East Carolina (9-17, 3-10 C-USA) enters Saturday's game after knocking off SMU 82-54 on Wednesday in Greenville, N.C. That win snapped a five-game losing streak for the Pirates.
Sam Hinnant leads ECU with 10.5 points per game while John Fields is tops with 4.8 rebounds per contest. Darrell Jenkins spearheads the Pirates offense, dishing out more than six assists per game.