Sept. 8, 2009
HOUSTON - Fifteen home games highlight the University of Houston men's basketball 2009-10 schedule, head coach Tom Penders announced Monday afternoon.
The Cougars, who have won at least 18 games for five consecutive seasons, open the season at 7 p.m., Nov. 17, when they play host to Nicholls State inside Hofheinz Pavilion. It will be the first of many exciting games for the Cougars on their 2009-10 slate.
"It's an outstanding schedule for us and for our fans. We've got some interesting home games and some good road games as well," Penders said. "This is a good schedule. You can't look at any game and say `Well, that's a win.'"
Fans should note that the starting times for several road games are not yet finalized and that starting times for all games are subject to change. For the latest men's basketball schedule informa-tion, fans should visit the men's basketball page at UHCougars.com.
Following the season opener and a road game at Nevada (Nov. 21), the Cougars will compete at the Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout. Making only their second trip to the northernmost state, the Cougars face Oklahoma and San Diego (Nov. 26-27) in pool play before facing a team to be de-termined in the tournament's final day.
For Penders and his team, competing a prestigious tournament like the Shootout gives the Cougars a chance to face teams from bigger conferences.
"It makes it more important for us because it gives us those few opportunities to play and pos-sibly knock off a (NCAA) Tournament team. It's nice to be able to get into those tournaments. The tournaments want us."
From there, the Cougars will play the entire month of December at home. The Cougars play Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (Dec. 6), Troy (Dec. 14), Mississippi State (Dec. 19), The Citadel (Dec. 21), TCU (Dec. 23) and Louisiana Tech (Dec. 29) in front of the hometown fans.
The New Year starts with a two-game road swing to UTSA (Jan. 1) and at Iowa State (Jan. 3). UH then returns home to open Conference USA play at Autry Court against crosstown rival Rice (Jan. 6).
The Cougars also hit the road in league games to face East Carolina (Jan. 16), Memphis (Jan. 23), UTEP (Feb. 3), SMU (Feb. 27) and at Tulane (March 6). In addition, UH takes a break from its C-USA schedule to travel to Western Kentucky on Feb. 9.
In Conference USA home games, the Cougars face Tulsa (Jan. 9), UTEP (Jan. 13), UCF (Jan. 20), Marshall (Jan. 30), Southern Miss (Feb. 6), SMU (Feb. 13), Memphis (Feb. 24) and Rice (March 3) at the friendly confines of Hofheinz Pavilion in 2010.
SATURDAY AFTERNOON HOME GAMES
For the first time in recent history, Cougar fans also will be able to enjoy their team at home in Saturday afternoon games at Hofheinz Pavilion. During five Saturday home games - Mississippi State (Dec. 19), Tulsa (Jan. 9), Marshall (Jan. 30), Southern Miss (Feb. 6) and SMU (Feb. 13), the Cougars will tip off at 4 p.m.
The Cougars and the UH women's basketball team also team up for a doubleheader on Jan. 30. While the women's team faces a Conference USA rival at 1 p.m., the men's squad faces C-USA rival Marshall at 4 p.m.
The Cougars started working out as a team in the Elmer Redd Strength & Conditioning Center and in small groups at Hofheinz Pavilion last week. Despite the brief time with the players, Penders is excited about all the lineup opportunities with which he can work.
"We've only had a week to work with the players as coaches," Penders said. "From what I can see, the hardest thing I will have to deal with is figuring out who should be playing and who should be playing with who out there."
Fans can renew their season tickets or purchase new season tickets on-line at UHCou-gars.com by clicking the "Tickets" link, by calling 713-GO-COOGS (462-6647) or by visiting the Ath-letics Ticket Office on the first floor of the Athletics/Alumni Center during regular business hours, Monday through Friday.
Season tickets can be purchased for as low as $135.