Sept. 22, 2011
HOUSTON - A school-record-tying 19 home games in Hofheinz Pavilion highlight the University of Houston men's basketball team's 2011-12 schedule, head coach James Dickey announced Thursday evening.
The schedule features 18 regular-season contests and a Nov. 8 exhibition game to open the season. It will tie for the most home games in school single-season history, equaling the 2007-08 team, which posted a 17-2 mark in front of the hometown fans.
"We understand that we have a young team with eight new players, including five freshmen," said Dickey, who is in his second year at the helm of the program. "We wanted a schedule that would be challenging and prepare us as well as give us opportunities for national exposure."
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.
The remaining game times will be announced as they become finalized.
The Cougars' schedule also features nine games on television this season. Houston will play LSU (Nov. 29) and Memphis (Jan. 14) at Hofheinz Pavilion on CBS Sports Network. The Cougars' showdown against city-rival Rice at Hofheinz Pavilion will air on Fox Sports Net on Feb. 8.
Houston meets Big 12 member Oklahoma on Dec. 17 in Oklahoma City during the 76th Annual All-College Classic in a game televised on ESPNU.
Houston also will compete four times on CSS with contests against UTSA (Dec. 10), Texas State (Dec. 30), at UAB (Feb. 1) and Southern Miss (Feb. 18).
Fans should check their local listings for games being broadcast in their areas. Additional games could be broadcast on television and will be announced at a later date. Fans should stay tuned to UHCougars.com and Houston Athletics social media pages for the latest news.
The Cougars open play Nov. 8 when they face Concordia University inside Hofheinz Pavilion. The regular season begins Nov. 12 when the Cougars open against Grambling State and continues on Nov. 14 against Utah Valley State.
After a Nov. 18 showdown against Arkansas at Verizon Arena in Little Rock, Ark., the Cougars close out the month with three straight home games against Oakland (Nov. 22), TCU (Nov. 26) and LSU (Nov. 29).
The Cougars open the month on Dec. 3 against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi before facing Texas State in San Marcos, Texas, on Dec. 6. After UTSA pays a visit to Hofheinz Pavilion on Dec. 10, the Cougars meet Oklahoma in Oklahoma City on Dec. 17 during the 76th Annual All-College Classic. That game will be televised live on ESPN, beginning at 7 p.m.
Houston then wraps up the year 2011 with three straight home contests against Rogers State (Dec. 21), North Carolina A&T (Dec. 28) and Texas State (Dec. 30). A year ago, the Cougars enjoyed an 85-48 win against RSU, shutting the Hillcats out from behind the 3-point line to snap a 13-year streak by opponents.
"We are playing some very good programs, which gives us an opportunity to see where our team is," Dickey said. "We are facing teams from outstanding leagues, which will prepare us for our Conference USA schedule. We wanted games that would be attractive for our fans and give us a chance to play on television."
CONFERENCE USA SCHEDULE
With the New Year comes the start of the Conference USA season. The Cougars play host to eight league games at home, starting with the opener against Tulsa on Jan. 4. Houston also welcomes Memphis (Jan. 14), East Carolina (Jan. 21), UTEP (Jan. 28), Rice (Feb. 8), Southern Miss (Feb. 18), SMU (Feb. 25) and Tulane (Feb. 29) to the friendly confines of Hofheinz Pavilion.
The Cougars hit the road throughout the C-USA slate to face UTEP (Jan. 7), UCF (Jan. 11), SMU (Jan. 18), UAB (Feb. 1), Tulane (Feb. 4), Tulsa (Feb. 11), Marshall (Feb. 22) and Rice (March 3).
Following the regular season, the Cougars return to Memphis for the Conference USA Championship, scheduled for March 7-10 in FedExForum. The winner of the league's annual postseason event earns an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, which tips off March 13-14 with First Round play.
"Conference USA is an underrated league with outstanding coaches, players and teams that provide a challenge every night. It's very difficult to win on the road or at home in this league," Dickey said. "We are excited about our young talent, and we look forward to an exciting and challenging race."
MEN'S BASKETBALL SEASON TICKETS
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.
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 during his freshman season.
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 ranked No. 98 in the ESPNU 100 national rankings.
Young gained a valuable year of experience practicing with the team a year ago.
Freshman forward TaShawn Thomas was another member of the ESPNU 100 national rankings, coming in at No. 92 for the 2011 signing class. The Killeen High product scored 16 points with eight rebounds to help lead his team to a win at the THSCA All-Star Game in July.
Houston also will welcome freshmen LeRon Barnes (North DeSoto HS/Stonewall, La.), Jherrod Stiggers (Terrell HS/Terrell, 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).