Nov. 16, 2006
Houston - The University of Houston men's basketball team will play its first home game of the 2006-07 season on Saturday, Nov. 18, when the Cougars play host to Monmouth at 2:00 p.m. in Hofheinz Pavilion. The Cougars enter the game looking to win their second straight game after defeating Rhode Island, 102-99, in overtime last Monday night in Kingston, R.I.
The game will be broadcast only on-line because of a conflict with UH's football game at Memphis. The broadcast is free and can be heard through the UHCougars.com website. The link to the broadcast is listed in the events section on the main page.
Monmouth, the preseason favorite to win the Northeast Conference and defending NEC Tournament Champions, is 1-2 after defeating Arkansas State, 69-67, in overtime in the third round of the Old Dominion Classic. The Hawks opened the tournament falling to Old Dominion in the first round and Clemson in a second round game.
The Hawks have three starters returning from last season. Heading the list is preseason All-NEC forward Marcus Alston, who is averaging 11.7 points and 2.3 rebounds per game. The other returning starters are Dejan Delic, who also averages 11.7 points per contest, and center Corey Hallett, who averaged 3.3 points and 7.0 rebounds in the first three games of the season. Sophomore guard Whitney Coleman leads the Hawks in scoring with 12.3 points per game this season.
The Cougars are in their third season under head coach Tom Penders, who ranks eighth among the nation's active NCAA Division I coaches with 567 career victories. He also is tied for 14th place among NCAA Division I coaches with eleven, 20-win seasons.
LAST TIME OUT Houston won its third straight season-opening game with a 102-99 overtime victory at Rhode Island. The Cougars were led by junior college transfers Robert McKiver and Marcus Malone, who finished with 33 and 25 points, respectively, in their Cougar debuts.
Oliver Lafayette added 20 points, and hit the game-winning trey from 26 feet out in the final second of overtime. Senior forward Jahmar Thorpe, who scored 12 points and led Houston with seven rebounds at Rhode Island.
McKiver became the first Cougar to score 30 points in a season-opening game since Otis Birdsong scored 34 points against Texas Lutheran on Nov. 28, 1976. He also is the second Cougar in school history to open their careers with a 30-point game, joining Melvin Bell, who scored 30 points against New Mexico on Dec. 1, 1966.