Dec. 29, 2006
Houston - The University of Houston men's basketball team will play its first home game in 31 days when the Cougars play host to UNLV Saturday night, Dec. 30, at 7:00 p.m. in Hofheinz Pavilion.
The Cougars, who enter the game with a 5-5 record this season, are trying to improve their record in Hofheinz to 4-0 this season after defeating Prairie View A&M, 101-54, in their last home game on Nov. 29.
UNLV enters the game with a 12-2 record and an eight-game winning streak after beating Texas Tech, 74-66, in a nationally-televised game at Lubbock Thursday night. Kevin Kruger, the son of UNLV head coach Lon Kruger, led the Runnin' Rebels with 21 points against the Red Raiders.
UNLV's scoring leader this season, Wendell White, added 12 points and enters Saturday night's game averaging 14.1 points per game. Kruger is averaging 13.7 points per contest this season.
Michael Umeh, a high school teammate of Houston's Lanny Smith, added 10 points against Texas Tech.
Houston enters Saturday night's game after a fourth-place finish at the 43rd Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic on Dec. 21-23 in Honolulu, Hawaii after falling, 70-57, against Nebraska. Houston began the tournament with a 68-46 victory over Charlotte, before suffering an 80-72 loss against Creighton in the semifinals.
Guards Robert McKiver and Oliver Lafayette lead the Cougars. McKiver is averaging 19.3 points per game and ranks third among Conference USA scoring leaders. Lafayette is averaging 15.7 points per game this season.
Junior forward Dion Dowell was Houston's top performer in the Rainbow Classic. He was named this week's Conference USA Player of the Week after earning All-Tournament team honors.
He averaged 20.3 points and 11.3 rebounds throughout the tournament after scoring a career best of 24 points against Nebraska. He also tallied 22 points and 16 rebounds against Charlotte.
Dowell enters Saturday night averaging 18.3 points and 10.0 rebounds in Houston's last four games.