March 23, 2008
HOUSTON - The University of Houston men's basketball team continues its 2008 postseason run when it plays host to Valparaiso at 8 p.m., Monday during the quarterfinals of the College Basketball Invitational at Hofheinz Pavilion.
Monday's game features two upset winners. The Cougars, who are the No. 3 seed in the West Regional, overcame the second-seeded Nevada on Tuesday. In a game that featured 18 lead changes, the Cougars came out on top after junior center Marcus Cousin hit a free throw with 26.5 seconds remaining to break a 79-79 tie, and the UH defense made that lead stand up.
Valparaiso, which was seeded No. 4, upset No. 1 seed Washington 72-71 in Seattle, Wash., on Wednesday night.
Senior guard Robert McKiver leads the Cougars with 23.1 points per game, the second-highest average in Conference USA. Earlier this season, McKiver recorded a C-USA single-game record 52 points against C-USA rival Southern Miss.
His total ranked as the third-highest total in UH single-game history.
Elvin Hayes set the school record with 62 points against, ironically, Valparaiso on Feb. 24, 1968, in a 158-81 Cougar win. Hayes' point total and the Cougars' 77-point win remain UH single-game records that stand today.
Senior forward Dion Dowell averages 11.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game and has recorded a double-double in two of the last three games.
Fans can hear the game live on 790 AM The Sports Animal with Tom Franklin calling the play-by-play action and Carl Dukes providing color analysis. The pregame show is slated to begin 10 minutes before tip-off.
Fans can buy tickets to the game by calling 713-GO-COOGS or by visiting UHCougars.com and clicking the appropriate links. Reserved tickets are priced at $20 and general admission tickets for $15.
Both UH and Valparaiso students with valid IDs can purchase a student ticket for only $5. All student tickets for both schools must be purchased in person either at the Houston Athletics Ticket Office in advance during normal business hours or at Hofheinz Pavilion, beginning at 6:30 p.m., Monday.
Parking for Monday's quarterfinal game will be $5 for the Yellow (Robertson) Lot with a limited number of $10 spaces available in the Red (Garrison) Lot.
Earlier in the week, head coach Tom Penders and director of athletics Dave Maggard donated $1,000 each for 200 student tickets and 200 tickets to be distributed to UH faculty and staff members for the game.
The first 100 UH faculty or staff members with a valid ID who visit the Athletics Ticket Office during regular business hours on Monday will receive two free tickets.
The student tickets will be given to the first 200 students with a valid ID that enter the Cullen Street entrance of Hofheinz Pavilion without a ticket.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
In addition, new football head coach Kevin Sumlin will be available to sign autographs and take photos with Cougar fans, beginning at 7 p.m., in the concourse area near the Holman Street entrance of Hofheinz Pavilion.
For the first time since 1999 and only the second time during the last 32 years, the Cougars will face Valparaiso on the hardwood. The Cougars own a 3-1 record in the all-time series, which began during the 1955-56 season and was last played on Dec. 11, 1999.
Valparaiso grabbed an early lead in the series with an 84-80 win on Dec. 9, 1955, during the Birmingham Classic in Alabama. However, the Cougars bounced back with three straight wins entering Monday's quarterfinal game.
The Cougars have posted a 2-0 all-time record against Valparaiso on their home court during the series. UH has won those games handily, winning by an average of 47.5 points per game, including a 77-point win (158-81) on Feb. 24, 1967.
This marks the first time that the Cougars will face Valparaiso in any postseason tournament.
Valparaiso enters the game as winners of seven of its last eight games. Shawn Huff leads the Crusaders with 12.7 points per game, making him one of five Valparaiso players averaging double digits. Urule Igbavboa has recorded 10.9 and a team-best 7.3 points per game, while Jarryd Loyd averages 11.9 points and 4.0 assists per contest.