Dec. 17, 2007
Houston - -
The University of Houston men's basketball team will try to win their ninth straight game and improve its record to 10-1 when the Cougars play host to the University of Kentucky on Tuesday, Dec. 18 at Hofheinz Pavilion. The Cougars enter the game coming off a 73-49 victory over Southern on Dec. 8 in Hofheinz Pavilion. Houston began its winning streak against Marist, and also beat Charleston, Texas Southern, Grambling State, Costal Carolina, Middle Tennessee State and Toledo.
Kentucky enters the game with a 4-4 record this season after falling 79-76 against UAB in Louisville last Saturday, 86-77 against North Carolina on Dec. 1 and 70-51 at Indiana on Dec. 8. Prior to those three losses, the Wildcats had won three straight games against Liberty, Texas Southern and Stony Brook.
HOUSTON vs. KENTUCKY
Houston looks for its first win against Kentucky and enters Tuesday night's game with an 0-3 record against the Wildcats. Two of the three previous games were played in Lexington. The Wildcats won the first meeting between the two schools 111-76 on Dec. 29, 1956 in the championship game of the Sugar Bowl Tournament in New Orleans. That game came in former Houston head coach Guy V. Lewis' first year as a head coach. Kentucky also won a 74-67 decision on Jan. 22, 1984 in Lexington. The Wildcats also won 77-70 on Jan. 3 in Lexington last season.
Tuesday night will be the first time Kentucky has played in the City of Houston. The Wildcats have played eight games in the State of Texas. The last time was in the 2005 NCAA Regional Semifinals and Finals at Austin. They beat Utah in the Regional Semifinals before losing to Michigan State 94-88 in two overtime periods in the Regional Finals.
SCOUTING THE COUGARS
Picked to tie UAB for second place in a poll of Conference USA coaches, the Cougars are led by preseason All-Conference USA selection Robert McKiver, who is averaging 20.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game. McKiver has recorded two 30 point games this season and tied his own school record of nine three-point field goals in a game twice. Senior forward Dion Dowell averages 13.9 points per game and is the team's rebounding leader with an 8.5 average after he recorded his second double-double of the season against Southern with 24 points and 10 rebounds. The other is senior forward Tafari Toney. Toney pulled down a season-best nine rebounds against Southern. Senior point guard Lanny Smith leads the team in assists with 4.2 per game after handing out five assists for the third time this season against Southern. Freshman guard Brockeith Pane is averaging 12.5 points per game and has scored in double figures seven times this season.
SCOUTING THE WILDCATS
Kentucky is led by senior guard Joe Crawford and freshman center Patrick Patterson. Crawford leads the Wildcats in scoring with 17.1 points per game. Crawford is one of two Kentucky players to start all seven games for the Wildcats, and is averaging 16.1 points and leads the team with 8.3 rebounds per contest and 11 steals. Another senior guard, Ramal Bradley, is averaging 12.7 points per game and leads the team in assists with 22 this year.