Houston Men's Basketball Opens American Play on New Year's Eve

Dec. 29, 2013

#15/15 UCONN HUSKIES (11-1 • 0-0 American)
at HOUSTON COUGARS (8-5 • 0-0 American)
Tickets Tickets Information
Questions? Fan Guide
Location Hofheinz Pavilion (8,479) • Houston, Texas
Television ESPN2 and WatchESPN
Bob Picozzi, PxP
Kara Lawson, analyst
No Cougar All-Access video due to broadcast
Radio 950 AM KPRC • Listen Live
Matt Thomas, PxP
Elvin Hayes, analyst
Live Stats GameTracker
Series History • UConn leads 2-0
• UConn won last 72-70
   at Storrs, Conn. (Nov. 30, 2000)
• UConn leads 1-0 in Hofheinz Pavilion
   Won 82-76 in Houston (Dec. 30, 1999)
Game Notes Houston Notes
UConn Notes
The American Notes
Social Media Facebook   Twitter

HOUSTON - For the first time in school history, the University of Houston Men's Basketball program will begin American Athletic Conference play when it plays host to No. 15/15 UConn at 8 p.m., Tuesday, inside Hofheinz Pavilion.

With Tuesday's game, the Cougars will begin play in the sixth conference during their athletics history, joining Conference USA (1996-12), Southwest Conference (1975-96), Missouri Valley Conference (1949-61), Gulf Coast Conference (1949-50) and the Lone Star Conference (1945-49). Houston also competed as an independent from 1961 to 1975.

The Cougars (8-5) should come into their final game in the year 2013 well-rested. Houston has not competed since a 54-52 win against crosstown-rival Rice on Dec. 21 inside Toyota Center in the first game of the Dickie's Shootout.

Against the Owls, junior forward TaShawn Thomas scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the 31st double-double of his career. While Rice connected on 10 3-pointers in the game, the Houston defense stiffened in the second half and allowed the Owls to hit only 4-of-13 long-range attempts in the second half.

It was Houston's third win in the last four outings against Rice.

This season, Thomas leads the Cougars with 17.5 points, 9.3 rebounds and 3.7 blocks per game. The Killeen, Texas, native is the only player in The American to rank among the league's top-three leaders in both scoring AND rebounding.

Thomas has started all 76 games during his collegiate career and became the 44th player in school history to score 1,000 points. With only 12 more rebounds, he will be come just the 13th player in Houston history to score 1,100+ points AND grab 700 rebounds.

Sophomore guard Jherrod Stiggers stands fourth on the team with 9.6 points per game and ranks among the league leaders with 2.0 treys per game.

The Cougars have been hit by the injury bug since late November. Four starters - guard Danuel House (6, knee), guard L.J. Rose (2, foot), forward J.J. Richardson (1, foot) and guard Tione Womack (1, foot) have missed a combined 10 games due to injuries. That group has combined to make 25 starts to date in 2013-14.

This will be the first time since the 2000-01 season that the Cougars will face UConn. The Huskies lead the all-time series 2-0 and have not visited Hofheinz Pavilion since an 82-76 win on Dec. 30, 1999.

Tickets are on sale NOW. Fans can purchase single-game, 3-, 6- and 9-game mini-plans or single-game tickets by visiting or calling the Athletics Ticket Office at 713-Go-COOGS (462-6647) or 877-COUGAR-5 (268-4275) or by clicking here.

To secure parking spaces and to support student-athlete scholarships through Cougar Pride for the upcoming season, fans should contact Cougar Pride at 713-743-GoUH or email cougarpride@uh.edu. Fans also can visit UHCougars.com and click the Cougar Pride tab for more information.

Tuesday's game can be seen live on ESPN2 with Bob Picozzi calling the play-by-play action and Kara Lawson providing analysis. Fans also can watch Tuesday's game on WatchESPN by clicking here.

Due to ESPN's broadcast, video stream will NOT be available through Cougar All-Access.

Fans can hear Tuesday's game live on 950 AM KPRC with Matt Thomas calling play-by-play and Hall of Famer Elvin Hayes providing analysis or by clicking here. The pregame show will start at 7:45 p.m., Tuesday.

Fans can watch live stats by clicking the GameTracker link at UHCougars.com or by clicking here.

UConn enters Tuesday's game as winners of 11 of its first 12 contests.. The Huskies are ranked No. 15 in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches' polls.

UConn has won its last two games, including an 82-65 home win against Eastern Washington on Saturday afternoon.

In the most recent game, guard Shabazz Napier led five Huskies in double digits with 15 points and nine assists. Guard Ryan Boatright added 14 points, three rebounds and two assists, while forward Niels Giffey added 13 points with four rebounds. Omar Calhoun came off the bench to post 12 points and tied with Phillip Nolan for team-high honors with six rebounds. Nolan also recorded 11 points on 2-of- 2 shooting from the field and 7-of-7 shooting from the free throw line.

This season, Napier leads the Huskies with 15.4 points, 6.3 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game. He is one of three Huskies to average double-digit points.

Daniels stands second on the team with 13.1 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. Boatright ranks third with 12.1 points per game but stands second with 3.5 assists per game.

Head coach Kevin Ollie is in his second year at UConn and as a collegiate head coach, assembling a 30-11 record during that time. He served as an assistant coach with the Huskies from 2010-12 before becoming head coach following the retirement of Jim Calhoun.

Tuesday's game will be the first time that he has faced Houston.

Following Tuesday's game, the Cougars return to action at 3 p.m. (CST), Saturday, when they meet American Athletic Conference rival USF inside the Sun Dome in Tampa, Fla.

The Cougars return to Hofheinz Pavilion when they play host to Cincinnati at 8 p.m., Jan. 7.



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