Men's Basketball Plays Host to Mississippi State at 1 p.m., Saturday

Dec. 18, 2009

Dec. 19, 2009 • Hofheinz Pavilion (8,479) • Houston, Texas • 7 p.m.

Houston-ISP Sports Radio Network • SportsTalk 790 AM-Houston • Tom Franklin, PxP
TELEVISION: CSS (Houston Comcast channel 129) • Paul Crane, PxP • Brian Oliver, analyst
INTERNET VIDEO: live audio broadcast at UHCougars.com
LIVE STATS: GameTracker stats

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HOUSTON - Winners of three of its last four games, the University of Houston men's basketball team returns to action at 1 p.m., Saturday, when it plays host to Mississippi State inside Hofheinz Pavilion.

The Cougars enter this weekend's game on the heels of a 93-85 win against Troy on Monday in Houston. In that game, senior guard Aubrey Coleman - who is the nation's leading scorer - was held to only one point through the first 16 minutes but finished with a game-high 25 points.

Senior guard Kelvin Lewis added 24 points, thanks to 7-of-9 shooting from the 3-point line, while sophomore point guard Desmond Wade posted a game-high six assists in the win.

This season, Coleman leads the team, Conference USA and the country with 26.7 points per game. He has scored at least 16 points every game this season with at least 20 points in all but one contest.

The Houston native also leads the Cougars with 7.0 rebounds and a Conference USA-high 2.7 steals per contest.

Lewis, who became the newest member of Houston's 1,000-Point Club in late November, ranks second on the team with 17.9 points per game and ranks among the national leaders by hitting 52.7 percent of his 3-point attempts.

Junior guard Adam Brown ranks third on the team with 13.7 points per game, while sophomore point guard Desmond Wade tops the Cougars with 5.9 assists per game. The Linden, N.J., native also ranks among the nation's top-five leaders in assist-turnover ratio.

Fans can hear Saturday's game live on SportsTalk 790 AM or on the Internet at UHCougars.com with Tom Franklin calling the play-by-play action. The pregame show is slated to begin at 12:45 p.m.

Fans can follow live stats from Saturday's game by clicking the GameTracker link at UHCougars.com.

Mississippi State brings an 8-2 record into this weekend's game following its 80-69 home win against Wright State on Wednesday. The Bulldogs have won eight of their last nine games following a season-opening loss to Rider. And those wins have not been close with MSU winning by an average of 22.8 points.

Ravern Johnson and Jarvis Varnado are tied for the team lead with 14.3 points per game. They are two of five Bulldogs averaging double-digit points this season. Varnado also paces the Bulldogs with 10.1 rebounds and 5.3 blocks per contest.

Dee Bost has averaged 11.7 points through the first 10 games and paces the Bulldogs with 5.4 assists per contest

Head coach Rick Stansbury is in his 12th season at Mississippi State, posting a 232-128 (.644) record during that time. He is 1-0 during his career against Houston. Saturday's game will be the first time that he has faced the Cougars in Houston.

For the second straight season, the Cougars meet Mississippi State on the hardwood. The Cougars own a 5-1 (.833) lead in the all-time series, which began Dec. 28, 1962, at the Sugar Bowl Classic in New Orleans.

However, MSU can boast of the most recent success after taking an 82-65 win in Starkville, Miss., on Jan. 3, 2009. It was the Bulldogs' first win in the series.

The series has featured some close games during its history with four of the six contests being decided by 10 or fewer points.

Houston has posted a 3-0 record against Mississippi State on its home court. This will be the first time the Cougars have faced the Bulldogs in Houston since a 74-65 win on Dec. 1, 1982.

Fans can purchase tickets online at UHCougars.com by clicking the Tickets link, by calling 713-GO-COOGS (462-6647) or by visiting the Athletics Ticket Office on the first floor of the Athletics/Alumni Center from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Single-game tickets and a variety of packages also are available now and can be purchased for as low as $35.



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