Men's Basketball Opens Postseason Play

March 9, 2016

(2) HOUSTON COUGARS (22-8 • 12-6 American)
vs. (10) TULANE GREEN WAVE (11-21 • 3-15 American)
Tickets BUY TicketsTickets Info
Time 6 p.m. CST • Friday, March 11, 2016
Location Amway Center (20,000) • Orlando, Fla.
Television ESPNU • WatchESPN
   Allen Bestwick, PxP
   Tim Welsh, analyst
Radio KPRC 950 AM • Listen Live
   Matt Thomas, PxP
   Elvin Hayes, analyst
Pregame show starts at 5:45 p.m. (CST)
Series History
Houston leads Tulane, 19-16
• Houston won last four
• Third straight season teams play
Houston won last 82-69
   Feb. 17, 2016 (New Orleans)
• Series tied 2-2 at conference tournaments
Game Notes Houston Notes
Tulane Notes
The American Notes
Social Media Facebook   Twitter

ORLANDO -- One of the nation's hottest teams, the University of Houston Men's Basketball program opens play at the 2016 American Athletic Conference Championship at 6 p.m. (CST), Friday, inside the Amway Center.

Winners of nine of their last 11 games, the Cougars earned a First-Round bye for the Championship. The Cougars will face No. 10 seed Tulane in the Quarterfinals at 6 p.m. (CST), Friday. With a 22-8 overall record and 12-6 league mark, the Cougars will compete as the No. 2 seed at the tournament.

Under the leadership of Head Coach Kelvin Sampson, the Cougars have engineered one of the nation's biggest turnarounds from a year ago. Finishing 13-19 in 2014-15, Sampson has led a 10-game improvement this season to tie for ninth nationally with the team's current 22-8 record.

The Cougars enter the Championship following an impressive 69-56 win over Cincinnati in their regular-season finale on March 3 inside Hofheinz Pavilion.

Junior guard Damyean Dotson and sophomore guard Rob Gray, Jr., led the way with 13 points apiece, as the Cougars knocked off the Bearcats for only the second time in school history and the first time since Feb. 2, 1973.

This season, Gray finished the regular-season with 16.1 points per game to lead the Cougars and the American Athletic Conference. The Forest City, N.C., native scored a career-high 31 points in wins against LSU and at East Carolina.

Houston has not enjoyed a conference scoring champion since guard Aubrey Coleman led the Cougars, Conference USA and the nation with 25.6 points per game in 2010.

Senior forward Devonta Pollard ranks second among the Cougars with 13.9 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. Dotson is a close third with 13.8 points per game but leads the team with 6.9 rebounds per contest. The Yates High product is one of only three players to rank among the American Athletic Conference's top-12 leaders in both scoring and rebounding.

This marks the seventh time in school history that the Cougars have competed as a No. 2 seed at a conference tournament but the first since 1996. In five of the previous six tournaments in which the Cougars played as the No. 2 seed, they advanced to the tournament finals.

KPRC logo black on white

Fans can hear Friday's Men's Basketball game live on KPRC 950 AM with Matt Thomas calling the action and Hall of Famer Elvin Hayes providing analysis. The pregame show begins at 5:45 p.m. (CST), Friday.

Fans can hear the radio broadcast online by visiting UHCougars.com and following the appropriate links to Houston All-Access or by clicking here. A Houston All-Access subscription is required to listen to the game online.

ESPNU logo The game can be seen on ESPNU with Allen Bestwick calling the play-by-play action and Tim Welsh providing analysis. Fan can watch the game online by visiting WatchESPN and following the appropriate links or by clicking here..

Tulane logo

Tulane enters Thursday's First-Round game against UCF with a 10-21 overall mark and 3-15 record in American Athletic Conference play. Tulane finished 11th in the league standings and is playing as the No. 10 seed.

The Green Wave has lost its last five games. Tulane's last win was a 73-65 victory at UCF on March 2. It was the team's second straight overtime victory after taking a 100-92 win in triple overtime at East Carolina on Feb. 10.

In its last game, Tulane fell behind 40-27 to regular-season champion Temple in the finale for both teams on Sunday afternoon in New Orleans. The Owls connected on 40.4 percent from the field while limiting Tulane to only 33.8 percent.

Against Temple, junior guard Malik Morgan and senior guard Louis Dabney totaled 16 points apiece to lead the Green Wave in the loss. Morgan also added a team-high nine rebounds and three 3-pointers, while Dabney paced the team with three assists.

This season, Dabney leads three Green Wave players in double digits with 14.5 points per game with Morgan ranking second with 12.7 points per game. Dylan Osetkowski is third on the team with 11.3 points per game but tops Tulane with 8.6 rebounds per contest. Morgan leads the team with 2.4 assists per game.

Head Coach Ed Conroy is in his sixth year at Tulane and his 13th season as a collegiate head coach. He has compiled a 90-102 record at Tulane and is 180-218 during his career. Before joining Tulane, Conroy built a 41-40 record at Francis Marion (1997-00) and a 49-76 mark at The Citadel (2005-10)

He is 4-8 against Houston during his career, including a 4-7 mark during his Tulane tenure.

With a win in Friday's Quarterfinals, the Cougars would advance to the Semifinals. Houston would face the winner of the No. 3 seed Tulsa-No. 6 seed Memphis game at 4 p.m. (CST) Saturday, on ESPN2.

Sunday's Championship title game tips off at 2:15 p.m. (CST) and will air on ESPN.

Fans can call 713-GO-COOGS (462-6647) or visit the Athletics Ticket Office from 10 a.m., to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. To purchase tickets in person, fans can visit the Athletics Ticket Office located on the northeast corner of TDECU Stadium, just outside of Gate 1 off Cullen Boulevard. Parking is available in the TDECU Stadium parking garage with the first 30 minutes free of charge.

2016 American Athletic Conference Championship logo AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIP TICKETS
All-Session passes for the 2016 American Athletic Conference Championship are now on sale. The league's annual postseason event will be held March 10-13 inside the Amway Center in Orlando.

All-Session passes begin at $175 for every game of the tournament. Fans can purchase All-Session passes to the 2016 American Athletic Conference Championship by clicking here.

Fans can receive the latest news and notes by following @UHCougarMBK on Twitter. Fans also can discuss the latest Houston Men's Basketball news and notes on the team's Facebook page by clicking LIKE at HoustonCougarMensHoops.



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