Men's Basketball Set to Open American Championship Play
March 11, 2014
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - For the first time in school history, the University of Houston Men's Basketball program is set to compete at the American Athletic Conference Championship when it faces No 3 seed - No. 25/23 SMU at noon, Thursday, inside FedExForum.
The four-day tournament actually starts Wednesday, but the Cougars earned a First-Round Bye after winning four of their final five games to cap the regular season.
Houston enters this week's postseason event on the heels of a tough 104-83 loss at UCF on Friday evening. Against the Knights, sophomore guard Jherrod Stiggers totaled a career-high 22 points, thanks to 5-of-10 shooting from the 3-point line.
Sophomore guard Danuel House added 18 points with four rebounds and an assist, while sophomore point guard L.J. Rose recorded the first double-double of his career with 16 points and a season-high-tying 10 assists.
Stiggers has become a long-range force during the Cougars' last nine games. The Terrell, Texas, native has hit at least one 3-pointer in each of the last nine games, including seven games with at least three treys during that stretch.
He has buried 47.1 percent (32-of-68) of his attempts from behind the arc during his recent hot streak and moved into a tie with Horace Chaney for ninth in school history with 139 3-pointers during his career.
Rose has been equally impressive in the team's recent games. The Houston native has dished out 66 assists with only 16 turnovers during the team's last 10 games, including six games with one or fewer giveaways.
In addition to his double-double Friday, the Westbury Christian product also dished out 10 assists in the Cougars' win against No. 21/22 Memphis on Feb. 27. It was the second time this season that Rose posted 10 assists against the Tigers.
This season, junior forward TaShawn Thomas continues to lead the Cougars with 15.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.6 blocks and 1.3 steals per game on the way to being named to the All-American Athletic Conference Second Team. House ranks second on the team with 13.8 points and 5.0 rebounds per game and has scored at least 18 points in four of the last five games.
Good seats for the American Athletic Conference Championship are still available with front row seats available in sections 209 and 226 and additional seating available in sections 207 and 223. Fans can view a seating chart of FedExForum by clicking here.
Fans can purchase tickets by visiting UHCougars.com and following the appropriate links or by clicking here, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Fans also can call 713-462-6647 or visit the Athletics Ticket Office, located on the first floor of the Athletics/Alumni Center, during regular business hours, Monday through Friday.
ON THE AIR
Thursday's game can be seen live on ESPNU or WatchESPN or by clicking here with Mike Patrick calling the play-by-play action and Len Elmore providing analysis. Due to the television broadcast, video stream will NOT be available through Cougar All-Access.
Fans can hear Thursday's game live on 950 AM KPRC or by clicking here with Matt Thomas calling play-by-play and Hall of Famer Elvin Hayes providing analysis. The pregame show will start at 11:45 a.m., Thursday.
Fans can follow live scoring by clicking the GameTracker link at UHCougars.com or by clicking here.
SMU enters Thursday's Quarterfinal game with a 23-8 overall record and 12-6 mark in The American. The Mustangs tied for third with Memphis and UConn in the latest league standings but claimed the No. 3 seed with a 3-1 combined mark against those two teams.
The Mustangs have lost their last two games, including a 67-58 decision at Memphis on Saturday in their most recent game. Against the Tigers, guard Nic Moore led the Mustangs with 16 points and seven rebounds and added three rebounds and a pair of assists. Guard Nick Russell and Markus Kennedy finished with 13 points apiece, while forward Shawn Williams added seven rebounds in the loss.
This season, Moore leads the team with 13.9 points and 4.7 assists per game. Kennedy stands second on the squad with 12.0 points per game but leads the SMU with 6.9 rebounds per game.
Head coach Larry Brown is in his second year at SMU and his ninth season overall as a collegiate head coach. He has posted a 38-25 record at SMU and assembled a 215-86 overall career mark.
Brown previously served as head coach at UCLA (1979-81) and at Kansas (1983-88). He Led the Jayhawks to the 1988 NCAA national championship.
He has posted a 4-3 record against Houston during his career, including a 2-2 mark against the Cougars during his SMU tenure.
In addition to his collegiate numbers, Brown assembled a 1,098-904 record in the NBA with the Nuggets (1976-79), Nets (1981-83), Spurs (1988-92), Clippers (1991-93), Pacers (1993-97), 76ers (1997-02), Pistons (2003-05), Knicks (2005-06) and Bobcats (2008-11).
He also built a 229-107 record in the ABA with Carolina (1972-74) and Denver (1974-76). Brown was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002 and remains the only coach to lead team to NCAA and NBA championships
With a win over SMU on Thursday, the Cougars would advance to the American Athletic Conference Championship Semifinals, set for 6 p.m., Friday, on ESPN2. Houston will face the winner of No. 2 seed Louisville, No. 7 seed Rutgers and No. 10 seed USF.