Men's Basketball Opens American Championship

March 10, 2015

(10) HOUSTON COUGARS (12-18 • 4-14 American)
vs. (7) TULANE GREEN WAVE (15-15 • 6-12 American)
Bracket Bracket
Time 5 p.m. (CDT), Thursday, March 12, 2015
Location XL Center (16,294) • Hartford, Conn.
Television ESPNews WatchESPN
   Mike Patrick (PxP)
   Len Elmore (analyst)
Radio KPRC 950 AM • Listen Live
   Matt Thomas, PxP
Series History Series tied at 16-16
• Houston won last, two of last three
Houston won last 68-63 (OT)
      New Orleans (March 4, 2015)

Tulane leads 2-0 at neutral site
Tulane won last at neutral site, 74-52
   C-USA Championsip First Round
   Louisville, Ky. (March 12, 2003)
Game Notes Houston Notes
Tulane Notes
The American Notes
Social Media Facebook   Twitter

HARTFORD, Conn. - Competing as one of the league's hottest current teams, the University of Houston Men's Basketball program begins play in the American Athletic Conference Championship First Round when it takes on No. 7 seed Tulane at 5 p.m. (CDT) Thursday, inside the XL Center.

The Cougars enter the postseason riding high on a three-game winning streak. In its most recent contest, Houston knocked off East Carolina 72-54 on Sunday inside Hofheinz Pavilion during the regular-season finale for both teams.

Against the Pirates, junior guard Jherrod Stiggers led the way with 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting, including a 4-of-6 effort from the 3-point line, while junior forward Devonta Pollard totaled 14 points and a game-high 11 rebounds for his team-leading seventh double-double of the season.

This season, Stiggers, continues to lead the Cougars with 14.1 points per game and ranks fifth in the league with that total. Pollard stands second among the Cougars with 11.3 points and 6.3 rebounds per game and is one of only three players to rank among the American Athletic Conference top-16 leaders in both scoring and rebounding.

Competing in his first American Athletic Conference Championship with Houston, head coach Kelvin Sampson has enjoyed tremendous success in conference postseason tournaments in nearly 26 full seasons as a head coach.

Sampson has posted a 20-13 all-time record in conference tournaments, leading three Oklahoma teams to Big 12 Tournament titles (2003, 2002, 2001) and guiding five teams to conference tournament championship game berths.

Thursday's game will be the second meeting against the Green Wave in an 8-day stretch. Houston rallied from a 10-point deficit midway through the second half to take a 68-63 win in overtime in New Orleans on March 4 in the Cougars' regular-season road finale.

The Cougars also have enjoyed tremendous success in conference tournaments during the program's storied history. Houston has posted a 43-33 all-time mark in conference tournaments with six tournament titles and 11 tournament championship game appearances.

University of Houston students are invited to watch the Cougars in action at Calhoun's Rooftop Bar & Grill (4701 Calhoun Rd., Ste., 200, Houston) during an official watch party.

Thursday's First-Round game tips off at 5 pm (CDT).

KPRC logo black on white RADIO / TELEVISION
Fans can hear Thursday's game on KPRC 950 AM with Matt Thomas calling the play-by-play action. The pregame show begins at 4:45 p.m., Thursday.

Fans also 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.

ESPNews Logo Fans can watch Thursday's game live on ESPNews with Mike Patrick calling the play-by-play action and Len Elmore providing analysis. Fans can see the game online by visiting WatchESPN and following the appropriate links or by clicking here.

With a win over Tulane on Thursday, the Cougars would advance to the American Athletic Conference Championship Quarterfinals to face No. 2 seed Tulsa at 7 p.m., Friday. That game would be shown on ESPNU and can be heard on KPRC 950 AM.
Tulane logo ABOUT TULANE
Tulane enters Thursday's game with a 15-15 overall mark. The Green Wave finished 6-12 in the American Athletic Conference regular season to receive the No. 7 seed at the Championship.

In its most recent action, Tulane snapped five-game losing streak with a 67-63 win at USF on Saturday. It was the Green Wave's second win in their last 12 games. Tulane outrebounded the Bulls 32-22, including 10 off the offensive glass and saw its bench outscore USF's 24-10.

Guard Jay Hook led the Green Wave with 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting with three 3-pointers and seven rebounds. Guard Jonathan Stark finished with 15 points, five rebounds and a team-high six assists, while Payton Henson came off the bench to post 13 points with five boards.

This season, guard Louis Dabney leads Tulane with 13.7 points per game. Hook stands second with 11.1 points and 5.0 rebounds per game, while Stark is the Green Wave's third double-digit scorer with 10.8 points per contest and a team-high 4.3 assists per game. Tre Drye leads the team with 5.03 rebounds per game.

Head coach Ed Conroy is in his fifth year at Tulane , posting an 80-80 record during that time. In more than 12 years as a collegiate head coach, Conroy has assembled a 170-196 career record.

He previously served as head coach at his alma mater The Citadel (2006-10, 49-76 record) and Francis Marion (1997-00, 41-40 record).

Conroy has posted a 4-5 record against Houston during his career, including a 4-4 mark as Tulane's head coach.

Thursday's game will be the third meeting between the teams in 2014-15 with each team winning on the other's home court. Tulane claimed a 68-65 win inside Hofheinz Pavilion on Jan. 17. Most recently, the Cougars split the regular-season series with a 68-63 overtime victory on March 4 in New Orleans.

This marks the 18th season in the last 18 years that these two teams have met on the hardwood. The teams competed regularly from 1996-97 to 2012-13 as Conference USA members and did not square off during the 2013-14 season.

This is the first season that Houston has faced Tulane as American Athletic Conference rivals.

With Houston's overtime win on March 4, the all-time series is tied at 16-16. Houston has won two of the last three games with only Tulane's 68-65 win in Houston on Jan. 14 preventing a longer Houston winning streak.

The series dates back to Dec. 11, 1946, a 62-49 Tulane win in New Orleans.

Tulane owns a 2-0 advantage against Houston at neutral sites with wins in the last two meetings during the Conference USA Championship. The Green Wave took a 74-52 win on March 12, 2003, in Louisville, Ky., and claimed a 76-69 win on March 9, 2000, in Memphis, Tenn.

Thursday's game will be the first time that Houston has faced Tulane at the American Athletic Conference Championship.

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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