June 2, 2011
HOUSTON - The University of Houston men's basketball team will face Big 12 Conference member Oklahoma on Saturday, Dec. 17, during the 76th annual All-College Basketball Classic at the Oklahoma City Arena in Oklahoma City.
The game will be part of an exciting doubleheader. In addition to the Houston-Oklahoma game, New Mexico will face Oklahoma State. Start time and ESPN television information will be released at a later date with tickets going on sale in the fall.
"We are excited about the honor and opportunity to participate in the historic All-College Basketball Classic," said head coach James Dickey, who recently completed his first season with the program. "ESPN and the Oklahoma All-Sports Association do a wonderful job with the teams. Playing the University of Oklahoma in Oklahoma City will be a tremendous challenge for our young team."
Thursday's announcement was the first game to be released on the Cougars' 2011-12 schedule. The complete schedule will be released later this summer.
ABOUT THE COUGARS
Four players, including starters Darian Thibodeaux, Alandise Harris and Kirk Van Slyke, return for the Cougars in 2011-12. Thibodeaux, who will be the lone senior on the team, was the only player to start all 33 games a year ago, while Harris averaged 9.4 points and 5.4 rebounds per contest.
The Cougars will welcome eight newcomers to the team this season, including redshirt freshman guard Joseph Young. A product of nearby Yates High, Young was a Parade All-America Third Team honoree coming out of high school and gained a valuable year of experience practicing with the team a year ago.
Houston also will welcome freshmen LeRon Barnes (North DeSoto HS/Stonewall, La.), Jherrod Stiggers (Terrell HS/Terrell, Texas), TaShawn Thomas (Killeen HS/Killeen, Texas) and J.J. Thompson (Irving HS/Irving, Texas), junior college transfers Leon Gibson (Navarro JC/Downey, Calif.) and Jonathon Simmons Midland JC/Smiley HS/Houston, Texas) and Pitt transfer J.J. Richardson (Hightower HS/Missouri City, Texas).
The showdown at the All-College Classic will be only the third time that these two teams have met on the court.
In the most recent meeting, the Cougars overcame an 18-point, first-half deficit against the 25th-ranked Sooners on the way to a 100-93 win at the Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout in Anchorage, Alaska, on Nov. 26, 2009.
It was the program's first win against a nationally ranked team outside of Houston since November 2005.
Oklahoma has won 15 of its last 18 games at the All-College Classic. The Sooners finished with a 14-18 record in 2010-11 and welcomed new head coach Lon Kruger to the program in the offseason.
The All-College Classic is the world's oldest basketball tournament, predating the NCAA, NBA, NIT and NAIA events. It has had a doubleheader format since 2001.
Deposits for 2011-12 season tickets are now being taken in the Houston Athletics Ticket Office. Fans can get an early jump on purchasing their season tickets with a $75 deposit by visiting the Athletics Ticket Office, located on the first floor of the Athletics/Alumni Center.
Fans also can make their deposits by calling 713-GO-COOGS (462-6647) or by visiting UHCougars.com and clicking the Tickets tab and following the appropriate links.
A year ago, the Cougars recorded their seventh straight season with at least 10 wins inside the friendly confines of Hofheinz Pavilion. It was the first time the Cougars and their fans accomplished that feat since the facility opened in 1969 with nine consecutive 10-win seasons.