Houston visits Memphis in AAC showdown

11:02 AM, Jan 23, 2014   |    comments
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Memphis, TN (SportsNetwork.com) - A pair of teams sporting identical 2-3 records in American Athletic Conference play get together on Thursday night, as the Houston Cougars pay a visit to the 23rd-ranked Memphis Tigers.

Houston is fresh off a 77-55 rout of Rutgers at home last Sunday, and the win put an end to a two-game losing streak for the Cougars. UH is 11-7 overall, and is hoping to even its record in true road games at 3-3 with a win tonight.

Memphis is in the midst of a four-game homestand, and the team is 1-1 thus far after losing to UConn (83-73) and besting Division II foe Lemoyne-Owen (101-78). The Tigers are 7-2 at home, and they've won three of their last four games overall, including a 73-67 triumph at Louisville on Jan. 9.

Memphis owns a 27-12 in the all-time series with Houston, as the two teams were former members of Conference USA (1996-2013). The Tigers currently have a three-game win streak going against the Cougars.

They will do battle once more during the regular season, doing so in Houston on Feb. 27.

As its overall record would indicate, Houston is slightly above average in terms of offensive production as the team generates 71.2 ppg behind typical shooting efforts of .451 overall and .362 from 3-point range. The squad's defensive showing has been right in line, as foes are putting up 68.1 ppg in hitting 41.5 percent of their total shots, which includes a 34.8 percent effort from beyond the arc. There are three double-digit scorers on the roster, led by TaShawn Thomas and his 16.7 ppg. Thomas also spearheads the club's rebounding effort with 8.7 rpg, while blocking 60 shots (3.3 per game). A 61.5 percent shooter from the field, about the only thing Thomas doesn't do well is shoot free throws (53-of-93, .570). Danuel House (13.9 ppg, 5.6 rpg) and Jherrod Stiggers (10.5 ppg) have been productive when out on the court, and both contributed in UH's recent win over Rutgers, combining for 25 points and 11 rebounds coming off the bench. Danrad Knowles paced the Cougars with 16 points and eight boards, while Thomas and Brandon Morris chipped in with 12 apiece. Houston shot an even 50 percent from the field, while holding the Scarlet Knights to just 31.2 percent, which included a woeful 1-of-10 showing from distance. Conversely, the Cougars nailed 11 treys.

Memphis owns favorable margins in just about every statistical category, including a near double-digit differential in scoring as it nets 80.7 ppg while yielding 70.8 ppg. The Tigers are hitting their field goals 47.7 percent of the time, but their 3-point attempts at only 30.2 percent. The team boasts three players who average in double figures, led by Joe Jackson and his 13.8 ppg. In all, six guys score at least 8.7 ppg, and nearly all of them got in on the act in the easy win over visiting Lemoyne-Owen. Nick King came off the bench to pace the team with 18 points, while all 13 players who saw action scored. Geron Johnson finished with 12 points, nine rebounds and seven assists for the Tigers, who made good on 58.5 percent of their field goal attempts, despite missing 13 of their 19 3-point tries. Memphis recorded assists on 29 of its 38 field goals. About the only negatives in the game for the Tigers was the fact that they went only 19-of-33 at the foul line, and that they committed 16 turnovers.

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