Houston (11-12) at Tulsa (14-10)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 11th, 8:00 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Donald W. Reynolds Center (8,355) -- Tulsa, Oklahoma. Television: None. Home Record: UH 10-5, Tulsa 8-4. Away Record: UH 0-6, Tulsa 5-4. Neutral Record: UH 1-1, Tulsa 1-2. Conference Record: UH 3-7, Tulsa 7-3. Series Record: Houston leads, 21-20.
GAME NOTES: The Tulsa Golden Hurricane will try to exact some revenge against the Houston Cougars tonight, as the two are set to square off in a Conference USA tilt at the Donald W. Reynolds Center.
These teams met up January 4 in Houston, where the Cougars squeezed out a 70-69 victory on Jonathon Simmon's free throw with 0.7 seconds in overtime. Simmons, who finished with a team-high 19 points, had a chance to win it in regulation but missed the second of two free-throw attempts with one second on the clock and the game went to overtime, where he later atoned for that miss. UH leads the all-time series, 21-20.
The Cougars face long odds to sweep the season series as they are winless in six road games this season. They have dropped three in a row and seven of their last nine overall to drop below .500 on the season and fall to 3-7 in conference play. UH is coming off Wednesday night's 79-71 setback to Rice.
Shortly after that loss to UH in the first meeting last month, Tulsa went on a season-long seven-game winning streak. However, that streak came to a halt Wednesday night at UTEP in a 64-55 final. Still, the Golden Hurricane entered the weekend within a half-game of Southern Miss and Memphis for the top spot in the Conference USA standings. With a win tonight, TU head coach Doug Wojcik would notch his school-record 138th victory.
During their three-game skid, the Cougars have allowed an average of 78 points per game, and they have failed to keep any of their last nine opponents below 70 points. UH led Rice by as many as 13 in the first half of Wednesday's contest and 64-63 with just under six minutes to go, but the Owls gave the Cougars some problems by switching to a 2-3 zone as they scored the game's next nine points and never trailed again. Once again, UH was done in by a porous defensive effort. Rice shot 50 percent for the game, made 9-of-19 three-pointers (.474) and was forced into only seven turnovers for the game. Simmons tallied 16 points and 10 rebounds for his first career double-double, while Alandise Harris (nine rebounds) and Joseph Young each scored 13 in the loss. Simmons, a redshirt junior, has made a solid impact with the Cougars this season after transferring from junior college, as he leads the team with 14.8 ppg to go along with 4.8 rebounds. Harris (13.7 ppg, 6.4 rpg) and TaShawn Thomas (10.8 ppg, 8.0 rpg) have also provided steady scoring and rebounding presences, and each member of that trio is shooting above 52 percent from the floor. Young (10.6 ppg) is the primary perimeter threat, having knocked down 43 threes at a 39.1 percent clip.
The Golden Hurricane don't have quite the scoring punch as Houston, averaging nearly eight points less per game, but where they really make their mark is on the boards and the defensive end. Tulsa is +5.8 in rebounding margin and has held foes to just 62.8 ppg on 41.1-percent shooting from the floor. On the offensive end of the floor, Jordan Clarkson leads the way with 15.9 ppg, followed by Scottie Haralson with 11.2 ppg. They are the team's only two double-digit scorers and are the only two to have started all 24 games. But after winning seven in a row, Tulsa was held to a season-low 34-percent shooting from the floor in Wednesday's loss to UTEP. The Hurricane turned in another sound defensive effort, holding the Miners without a three-point field goal for the first time in 366 games, a span of more than 11 years. But Tulsa never led in the game, as UTEP used a key 13-2 run late in the first half and steadily expanded its lead to 15 points with less than eight minutes to play in regulation. Clarkson led the way with 16 points and five assists for Tulsa, which shot just 33.9 percent as a team. Haralson and Eric McLellan finished with 13 and 12 points, respectively.
Coming off their first loss in a while, the Golden Hurricane will no doubt be motivated to get back to business tonight and hand coach Wojcik his record- setting win in front of the home crowd.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Tulsa 76, Houston 66
02/11 10:42:46 ET