Thursday , Jan , 11 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Tigers get back to work against Cougars

Houston, TX (Sports Network) – The 20th-ranked Memphis Tigers are clearly the
favorites to win the Conference USA crown, and they will attempt to score
a league win over the Houston Cougars today.

Memphis has been idle since last Thursday when it rolled to an 88-55 victory
over Cincinnati in front of a delighted home crowd. The Tigers have now won
their last three games and five of the last six to improve to 11-3 overall,
and they won their only league game to date. It is important to point out,
however, that their only two true road games have resulted in defeat.

Houston is 3-1 at home, but the team is 5-7 overall after losing its last
four games and six of the last seven. The Cougars haven’t played since last
Wednesday when they dropped a 77-70 decision to Kentucky on the road.
Tonight’s game represents the league opener for the club.

The Tigers hold a 15-10 series lead over the Cougars, and Memphis won both
meetings last season.

Memphis has little trouble generating offense, as the club is racking up
82.4 ppg thanks to solid contributions from several talented
individuals. Defensively, the Tigers have excelled as well, limiting
opponents to 65.6 ppg on 37.9 percent shooting from the field. Chris
Douglas-Roberts is the top scorer for the club with his 15.1 ppg on 55
percent shooting from the field. Jeremy Hunt adds 13.8 ppg to the mix, and
Robert Dozier posts 11.2 ppg and 6.1 rpg. Everything seemed to go right for
Memphis in the romp over Cincinnati last week, as the squad led by 31 points
at halftime. The Tigers shot 59.3 percent from the floor while limiting
Cincinnati to 37.5 percent, and a 42-23 rebounding advantage also helped
the cause. Hunt stole the show with a career-high 24 points on 6-of-7
accuracy from three-point range, and he was named Conference USA Player of
the Week for his efforts.

Houston has four double-digit scorers in the lineup, and the team is
netting 78.4 ppg despite shooting a lowly 38.7 percent from the floor.
Robert McKiver is the top scorer with 17.7 ppg, while Dion Dowdell (17.5
ppg, 8.7 rpg) and Oliver Lafayette (16.0 ppg) are close behind.
Unfortunately, all three players are shooting below 38 percent from the
field, and their lack of efficiency at the offensive end has led to the
team’s shaky overall record. In the seven-point loss to Kentucky last week,
Lafayette scored 19 points to lead Houston, and the fact that he also had
nine rebounds, six assists and three steals is proof of his solid all-
around ability. Dowdell scored 18 points for the Cougars, who only
connected on 38 percent of their field goal attempts.