FORT WORTH, Texas – Fresh from a dominant home win, the University of Houston’s senior men’s basketball programs make their way north on Interstate 45 for the second game of The Battleground 2K22 on Saturday at 8:30 p.m. -/rv Saint Mary’s (California ) to meet at Dickies Arena.
The Cougars, winners of their first seven games to open the season, enter this weekend’s game after an impressive 100-52 win over Norfolk State on Tuesday at the Fertitta Center.
Senior Guard and Preseason All-American Markus Sasser led five Cougars in double digits with 25 points and seven 3-pointers. The Dallas native needs just 19 points to finish 50thth Houston career 1,000 point scorer and leads the Cougars in 2022-23 with 18.1 points per game.
Junior Point Guard Jamal Shead gave out a season-high 11 assists and added 12 points for his first double-double of the season. The Manor, Texas native has surpassed 300 assists in his career with the Cougars and is tied on points with 21St in Houston history with Hall of Famer Clyde Drexler.
Shead leads the Cougars and the American Athletic Conference with 6.1 assists per game and ranks among the league leaders with an assist-turnover ratio of 3.3.
freshman forward Jarace Walker tied with the second striker Yes’Four Francis for high honors with eight rebounds against the Spartans. Walker leads the Cougars with 7.0 rebounds per game, including 4.4 blocks per fight, while Francis leads the team with 1.9 blocks per game.
Saturday’s game will be part of a doubleheader where Texas A&M meets Boise State in the first game at 6:00 p.m.
THE BATTLEFIELD 2K22 TICKETS
Fans can still purchase tickets for The Battleground 2K22 by dropping by Ticketmaster.com and follow the appropriate links or by clicking here.
Home away from home
• Houston has enjoyed tremendous success at Dickies Arena in its short history at the facility.
• Prior to Saturday’s game, the Cougars have won eight straight games at Dickies Arena since the 2020-21 season.
• Saturday’s game marks the third straight season that the Cougars will play at Dickies Arena.
• The streak began with a 64-53 win over #14/13 Texas Tech during the Southwest Showcase on November 29, 2020. From there, the team clinched their first American Athletic Conference Championship title with three straight wins over Tulane ( 77-52, March 12, 2021); Memphis (76–74, March 13, 2021) and Cincinnati (91–54, March 14, 2021).
• In 2021-22, the Cougars celebrated a 72-61 win over Oklahoma State on December 18, 2021.
• Houston then retained his American Athletic Conference Championship title with victories over Cincinnati (71-53, March 11, 2022); Tulane (86-66, March 12, 2022) and Memphis (71-53, March 13, 2022).
• Fans can watch Saturday’s game ESPN2 with Kevin Brown (play-by-play) and Jon Crispin (analyst) leading the action.
• Fans can continue listening to Saturday’s game 950 a.m. KPRC or The Varsity Network app with Jeremy Branham (play-by-play) and Houston Hall of Famer Elvin Hayes (analyst) calling the action. The pregame show starts at 8:15 p.m
• Fans can follow live stats by visiting them StatBroadcast.com and follow the appropriate links or by clicking here.
2022-23 BUY TICKETS
Fans can purchase single-game tickets to the Cougars’ 18 regular-season home games at the Fertitta Center. Supplies are limited and fans are encouraged to buy soon before they run out.
To purchase single game tickets, fans may call the Athletics Ticket Office at 713-GO-COOGS (462-6647) during regular business hours or click here At any time.
For the third straight year, the Cougars sold out season tickets to home games at the Fertitta Center.
Fans who were unable to purchase season tickets in 2022-23 are invited to join the team’s 2023-24 waitlist as the Cougars prepare to attend the Big 12 conference. Fans can join the waiting list for 2023-24 season tickets click here.
ABOUT SAINT MARY’S (California)
• Saint Mary’s (California) bring a 6-2 record into Saturday’s 2022/23 game. The Gaels are 1-1 in neutral and non-home games this season.
• After winning their first six games of the season opener, the Gaels have lost their last two games, including a 69-65 setback at home to New Mexico on Wednesday night in their most recent action.
• Against New Mexico, senior guard Alex Ducas led all players with 25 points thanks to 7-of-10 shots from the field and 8-of-8 from the free-throw line. Junior center Mitchell Saxen added 11 points, with team-bests nine rebounds and five steals. Freshman guard Aidan Mahaney came off the bench and had 11 points with two rebounds and an assist.
• This season, Ducas and Saxen are tied at the top of the team with 14.5 points per game, with Saxen also leading the Gaels with 8.9 rebounds per game. Mahaney sits third with 12.9 rebounds per game, while fifth-year guard Logan Johnson averages 10.0 points. 5.8 rebounds and a team-high 3.9 assists per game.
• Head Coach Randy Bennett is in his 22nd season at Saint Mary’s (California) and as a college head coach.
• Bennett has a career record of 486-202.
• Saturday’s game marks the first time in his career that Bennett will face Houston or Houston head coach Kelvin Sampson.
• 1986 Graduated from UC San Diego.
SERIES STORY vs. SAINT MARY’S (California)
• Houston leads 2-1 against Saint Mary’s (California) in the series that began on December 12, 1966.
• Saturday’s game marks the first time since December 13, 1996 that the two schools have played men’s basketball.
• The Cougars won their first two games of the season, but Saint Mary’s (California) can boast of recent success after winning 72-65 at the BYU Cougar Classic on December 13, 1996 in Provo, Utah.
• at the neutral location: Saint Mary’s (California) leads the series 1-0 over Houston in games played at neutral grounds.
• Last meeting at a neutral venue, Saint Mary’s (California) won 72-65 on December 13, 1996 during the BYU Cougar Classic in Provo, Utah.
IN THE NATIONAL RANKING
For the first time since March 1983, the Cougars are ranked No. 1 in both national polls released Monday
The Cougars held 45 first-place votes and 1,534 points to lead the Associated Press poll, and garnered 23 first-place votes en route to 782 points for the top spot in the USA TODAY sports Coach Survey.
Houston has not been ranked this high nationally since it was No. 1 in the final polls of the 1982-83 season (AP March 14, 1983; Coaches, March 15, 1983).
The 2022-23 Cougars became the third team in school history to finish at the #1 spot during the season. They joined the 1967-68 and 1982-83 teams.
As of Monday’s ranking, Houston has spent a total of 12 weeks at No. 1 in the AP poll.
This was also the first time Houston head coach Kelvin Sampson has led a No. 1 team during his award-winning career.
With Monday’s ranking, the Cougars extended their school record with their 49th consecutive week in the AP Top 25. The previous mark was 35 consecutive weeks in the 1967-1969 poll. The January 13, 2020 poll was the last time Houston did not appear in the AP Top 25.
Houston has appeared in the Coaches poll for 41 consecutive weeks, dating back to March 2, 2020.
• After Saturday’s game, the Cougars return to the Fertitta Center for three straight home games.
• The homestand begins Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. against North Florida (ESPN+) and continues on December 10 at 2:00 p.m. against #11/14 Alabama (ABC) before returning on December 13 at 7:00 p.m vs North Carolina A&T (ESPN+).
• All Houston Men’s Basketball games can be heard on 950 AM KPRC.
SUPPORT HOUSTON RISE
Connect Houston risea $150 million fundraiser for Houston Athletics dedicated to the championship’s success at the Big 12 Conference.
Everyone Houston rise Post prepares our cougars to compete and win when we begin Big 12 competition in July 2023. click here get up and be counted.
Join the 50-50 CLUB
Fans are invited to join the 50-50 Club to support Houston Men’s Basketball. 50-50 Club Members help fund program needs and enhance the experience for our student athletes.
Fans who join the 50-50 Club will receive Jordan Brand embroidered team apparel, invitations to exclusive events, regular program updates and more.
For more information or to register, fans can visit uhcougars.com/5050club or click here. To join the 50-50 Club, fans can call Cougar Pride at 713-743-GoUH (4687).
STAY IN CONTACT
Fans can get updates by following @UHCougarMBK on Twitter and click to find out about news and information about the team HOW on the team’s Facebook page UHCougarMBK or visit the team’s Instagram page at UHCougarMBK.
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