March Madness Set to Return to Houston this Weekend

March 18, 2010

(13) HOUSTON COUGARS (19-15 • 7-9 C-USA) vs. (4) #20/20 MARYLAND TERRAPINS (23-8 • 13-3 ACC)
March 19, 2010 • Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena (12,210) • Spokane, Wash. • approx. 6:40 p.m. (PDT)/8:40 p.m. (PDT)


Houston-ISP Sports Radio Network • NewsRadio 740 AM KTRH-Houston • Tom Franklin, PxP
Broadcast begins at approx. 6:40 P.M. (PDT)/8:40 P.M. (CDT)
LIVE STREAMING: Live Streaming
TELEVISION: CBS Sports • Tim Brando, PxP; Mike Gminski, analyst
LIVE STATS: GameTracker

NCAA Tournament Central
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SPOKANE, Wash. - March Madness returns to the University of Houston for the first time in nearly two decades when the Cougars' men's basketball team meets No. 4 seed and 20th-ranked Maryland during the NCAA Tournament First Round at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena.

The Cougars meet the Terrapins around 8:40 p.m. (CDT)/6:40 .m. (PDT), Friday. Houston follows 30 minutes after the (5) Michigan State-(12) New Mexico State game, which begins at 6:20 p.m. (CDT)/4:20 p.m. (PDT).

Houston (19-15 • 7-9 C-USA) earned its ticket to the NCAA Tournament with a thrilling run through the GMC Sierra Conference USA Championship on March 10-13 in Tulsa. After having only one three-game winning streak (which ended in mid-December) all season, the Cougar reeled off four wins in as many days to win the tournament crown.

The Cougars capped their stay with a thrilling 81-73 win against No. 1 seed and 21st-ranked UTEP in the championship game. Against the Miners, senior guard Kelvin Lewis poured in a season-high 28 points, including a championship-game record six 3-pointers, on the way to being named the Championship's Most Valuable Player.

Lewis became only the fifth player in school history to be named a conference tournament MVP, joining Hakeem Olajuwon (1984), Michael Young (1983), Rob Williams (1981) and Mike Schultz (1978).

This season, Lewis ranks second on the Cougars with 15.3 points per game and leads the team with 100 3-pointers, becoming only the third player in school history (Robert McKiver, Andre Owens) to reach triple digits in a single season.

Senior guard Aubrey Coleman leads the Cougars, the league and the nation with 25.6 points per game and is poised to become the program's first national scoring champion. The Houston native has recorded nine 30-point games this season and reached the 1,000-point mark of his career in only 48 games, the fifth fastest rate in Houston history.

With a combined 40.9 points per game, the Coleman-Lewis combination stands as the eighth best scoring duo in Houston single-season history. It marked the first time since 1976-77 (Otis Birdsong-Charles Thompson) that the Cougars' top two scorers combined to average more than 40 points per game.

Houston is the only team in Conference USA that can boast having two of the league's top-eight scorers.

Junior forward Maurice McNeil paces the Cougars with 7.4 rebounds per contest and is especially strong on the offensive glass, posting a team- and league-high 3.4 offensive boards per contest.

Sophomore point guard Desmond Wade leads the team with 4.9 assists per game and ranks among the country's top-15 leaders with a 2.68-1 assist-turnover ratio. The Linden, N.J., native became only the third player in school history (Derrick Williams, Rob Williams) to record back-to-back 100-assist seasons during the first two years of his collegiate career.

Fans can hear Friday's game live on NewsRadio 740 AM KTRH at UHCougars.com with Tom Franklin calling the play-by-play action. The pregame show is slated to begin around 8:40 p.m. (CDT)/6:40 p.m. (PDT).

Fans should note that the game will not air on the regular home - SportsTalk 790 AM -for Houston Athletics. The game was moved to accommodate a larger radio audience.

Fans can watch the game live on CBS Sports with Tim Brando calling the play-by-play action and Mike Gminski providing analysis.

The game also can be seen live on the Internet with March Madness on Demand by visiting mmod.ncaa.com or by clicking the appropriate link at UHCougars.com.

Fans can follow live stats at UHCougars.com by clicking the GameTracker link.

Maryland (23-8 • 13-3 ACC) enters Friday's NCAA Tournament First Round action as winners of seven of its last eight games. In their most recent action, the Terrapins dropped a 69-64 decision to Georgia Tech during the ACC Tournament quarterfinals on Friday. That loss snapped Maryland's season-best seven-game winning streak.

Against the Yellow Jackets, senior guard Greivis Vasquez led all players with 17 points on 6-of-21 shooting, while senior forward Landon Milbourne added 15 points and six rebounds. Senior guard Eric Hayes also added 14 points, and freshman forward Jordan Williams led the team with seven rebounds in the loss.

This season, Vasquez leads four Terrapins averaging in double digits with 19.5 points and a team-high 6.3 assists per game. Millbourne ranks second with 12.5 points, while Hayes stands third with 11.1 points per contest. Sophomore guard Sean Mosley averages 10.5 points per game with Williams is snaring a team-high 8.3 rebounds per contest.

Gary Williams is in his 32nd season as a collegiate head coach, posting a 648-365 (.640) record during that time. Now in his 21st season at Maryland, Williams has assembled a 441-237 (.650) record at his alma mater (class of 1968).

Before joining the Terrapins, he served as head coach at American (1978-82), Boston College (1982-86) and Ohio State (1986-89)

Friday's game will be Williams' first meeting against the Cougars.

Friday's game will be only the third time that the Cougars have faced Maryland on the hardwood with the two teams splitting the previous two contests. It will be the first time these two teams have squared off since Houston claimed a 60-50 win on March 19, 1983, during the NCAA Tournament Midwest Regional at The Summit in Houston.

In the only previous meeting, Maryland enjoyed a 69-68 win on Dec. 29, 1965, at the Sugar Bowl Classic in New Orleans.

Houston owns a 1-0 lead against Maryland during the NCAA postseason. Playing at The Summit in Houston, the Cougars earned a 60-50 win on March 19, 1983, during the NCAA Tournament Midwest Regional.

This will be the second meeting on a neutral floor. Maryland claimed a 69-68 win on Dec. 29, 1965 at the Sugar Bowl Classic in New Orleans.

With a win against No. 4 seed Maryland, the Cougars advance to the Round of 32 to meet the winner of the (5) Michigan State-(12) New Mexico State on Sunday. Game time will be announced later this weekend.

With back-to-back wins in Spokane, the Cougars move to the Midwest Regional in St. Louis next weekend. There, Houston would face the winner of the (1) Kansas-(8) UNLV-(9) Northern Iowa-(16) Lehigh bracket.



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