Cat fight in Tucson
Tucson, AZ (Sports Network) – The Houston Cougars have traveled to Tucson and
hope to knock off the 10th-ranked Arizona Wildcats in non-conference action.
Houston won its first three games to open the season, but the club has lost
two of three since that point. The Cougars have been idle for two full weeks,
as their most recent outing resulted in a 102-84 setback to VCU way back on
Arizona has won seven consecutive contests by an average of over 17
points since falling to Virginia in the season opener. The program is now
155-19 since the start of the 1997-98 season when scoring at least 80 points,
including 5-1 in such situations this season. The Wildcats have been idle
since last Saturday when they rolled to a 69-48 decision over San Diego State.
Houston holds a 5-3 lead in the all-time series with Arizona, including a
thrilling 69-65 decision over the Wildcats last year.
Houston has scored at least 78 points in all of its games thus far and has
reached triple figures on two occasions, and it is surprising that the team is
averaging 91.7 ppg considering the fact that it is only shooting 41.6 percent
from the floor. The leading scorer for the Cougars is Robert McKiver, as he is
pouring in 24.3 ppg on the strength of his 42.3 percent shooting from three-
point range. McKiver adds 4.8 apg to the mix, and he is vital to the club’s
success. Oliver Lafayette is contributing 19.2 ppg, 5.5 rpg and 4.3 apg to go
along with his team-high 19 steals. While those stats are tremendous, Lafayette
is only shooting 33.7 percent from the field. Marcus Malone (14.7 ppg), Robert
Lee (13.2 ppg, 8.7 rpg) and Jahmar Thorpe (10.8 ppg) round out the unit’s
double-digit scorers. Lee led the charge in the recent loss to VCU, as he
netted 21 points off the bench. The Cougars turned the ball over 22 times and
permitted VCU to pull down 21 offensive rebounds.
Arizona has had the same starting lineup in all eight games, and each of the
five starters are averaging double figures in scoring. Chase Budinger and Ivan
Radenovic are tied for the lead with 17.6 ppg apiece, and Radenovic is ripping
down 7.1 rpg. Marcus Williams checks in with 16.0 ppg and 7.1 rpg, and Juwann
McClellan adds 14.1 ppg to the mix. As for point guard Mustafa Shakur, he is
contributing 11.8 ppg to go along with his 61 assists. Arizona is posting 86.6
ppg on the strength of its Pac-10-leading 50.3 percent shooting from the floor.
Williams was a force in the victory over San Diego State, as he racked up 21
points and 16 rebounds. Shakur finished with 14 points and eight boards, while
Radenovic and McClellar tallied 10 points apiece. Strong defense was key to the
lopsided triumph, as the Wildcats limited the Aztecs to 32.8 percent shooting