Dec. 7, 2007
Houston - Shhhhhhhh! They remain one of the best-kept secrets in town.
The University of Houston men's basketball team has quietly gotten off to their best start in 15 years. The Cougars will be looking to improve their record to 9-1 when they play host to Southern University on Saturday night, Dec. 8 inside Hofheinz Pavilion. The game tips off at 7:00 p.m.
While most Cougar fans and local media have their eyes focused towards UH's search for a new football coach and the professional sports teams in town, the Cougars have begun the 2007-08 season with an 8-1 overall record, including a 6-0 mark in home games this season. Houston's lone loss has been a one-point loss against VCU in the first round of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. Since then, Houston has won seven straight games and look to equal their best start since 1991-92.
The Cougars are led by preseason All-Conference USA selection Robert McKiver, who is averaging 20.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. McKiver has scored 20 points in three straight games with 21 points against Coastal Carolina, 32 points against Middle Tennessee State and 20 points versus Toledo. He also grabbed a career-high nine rebounds against Toledo. McKiver was named the Conference USA Player of the Week last Monday following his 32-point performance against Middle Tennessee.
Senior forward Dion Dowell averages 12.8 points per game and is the team's rebounding leader with an 8.3 average after netting 13 points and eight rebounds versus Toledo last Tuesday night.
Senior point guard Lanny Smith leads the team in assists with 4.1 per game after handing out three assists against Toledo and five assists each against both Grambling State and Coastal Carolina.
Freshman guard Brockeith Pane is averaging 13.9 points per game and has scored in double figures seven times this season. He was named the Conference USA Player of the Week on Nov. 26 after scoring a career-high 26 points against Grambling State and leading the Cougars with 20 points against Texas Southern.
Southern enters the game with a 1-5 record following a 56-39 loss at Stephen F. Austin on Dec. 4. It was the fifth straight loss for the Jaguars after Southern began the season with a 75-61 victory at SMU on Nov. 10. The Jaguars also suffered losses against Paul Quinn College in Dallas on Nov. 11, at Missouri on Nov. 16, at Southeastern Louisiana on Nov. 20 and at LSU on Nov. 30.
Following the Southern game, Houston will take a 10-day break for finals before playing host to Kentucky on Dec. 18.