ATHENS' FIVE-EIGHT A STUMBLING GROUP

by Thomas Turner

Contributing Writer

The second release by Five-Eight, <I>The Angriest Man<P>, is ,at best, an average effort.

Five-Eight is the latest band to emerge from the Athens scene and receive national attention, following the likes of R.E.M. and the B-52's.

The Athens-based band has put together a seven-song release that ranges from rock to mundane attempts at meaningful songs.

The band basically works off of simple, straightforward rock patterns with traces of punk mixed in. There isn't any techno-effect or grungy distortion.

The band is comprised of lead singer and guitarist, Mike Mantione, who makes frequent attempts to hit the right pitch on nearly all of the tracks on the album.

Behind Mantione are bassist Dan Horowitz, Sean Dunn on guitar, and Patrick Ferguson on drums. The group finds that many of their influences stem from the likes of Husker Du and The Who.

With his raw, ambitious vocals, Mantione usually falls just short of being annoying, but provides some originality to a few of the songs.

The song with the most potential on this release is "Depressed All The Time." It travels the road of punk-rock. Along with its own work, the group plays a rather good rendition of Neil Young's "The Needle and the Damage Done." <I>The Angriest Man<P> wraps up with "Man Is A Pent Up Thing," which relies only on the vocals. However, the song is nothing to write home about.

On <I>The Angriest Man<P>, Five-Eight makes a strong attempt to produce a solid album, but fails and is left with only an average release.

 

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KUNG MERGES ARCHITECTURE AND FINE ARTS

by Pam Griffin

News Reporter

Chee Kung is an architecture student who wants it all, and he's working hard to get it.

Kung, a Singapore native and fifth-year architecture student in the College of Architecture, said architecture and art are more integrated than they are separate. "When you deal with mediums other than straight lines or diagonal grids, your view of your own profession and design sensibilities are broadened," he said.

While teaching water colors at the Water Color Society in Houston, Kung works with prints, silk-screens and lithographs. He said he likes to be proficient in all these areas and is beginning to incorporate them in his architecture.

"It's taken a long time -- four years -- to get where I am, but I can see them coming together. I can see architecture in my paintings, my artwork and my architectural expressions," Kung said.

Kung said he doesn't want to get trapped in the "ivory tower" of student life. Instead, he wants to get to know the city and other aspects of society. He says going to school is like living in a vacuum without getting to know the rest of the world. "You need to find out everything you can, especially for an architecture student because you're expected to know everything from economics to sociology to art and music, and I'm trying to do everything," Kung said.

Kung said his art, on display at the River Oaks Three Theater through Wednesday, is an expression of a concluding period for himself as well as an opportunity to express himself to his friends and the city of Houston.

The water colors on display are done with subtle, muted shades in cool tones that depict scenes of older parts of Singapore where immigrants lived in warehouses converted to homes on the coastline. He is also showing abstract works of ink on Plexiglass.

The distinction between the two mediums are described, by Kung, as mindscapes vs. landscapes. "Because of the speed and way in which the medium is controlled an artist reacts differently to each medium," he said.

"Silk screen and prints are small mindscapes; they require a very spontaneous approach -- one-half hour. Otherwise, ink drys so fast and it's gone so you have to capture that and with it comes a certain energy, spontaneity and one relies more on memories," said Kung.

After graduation, Kung plans to pursue a career in architecture by pushing the state of the art into new and different forms.

 

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PAGE THEFT MAJOR THREAT TO UH LIBRARY

Book vandalism harder to police than book theft

by Tanya Eiserer

News Reporter

Library officials are stymied by a theft they can't control -- page theft.

People ripping out pages force the library to replace more than 1,000 borders each year, Martha Steele, the director of Access Services said.

"We have certainly seen more book mutilation because materials are harder to steal," said Kathleen Gunning, the assistant director for Public Services and Collection Development.

Thanks to an electronic anti-theft system, anyone trying to steal books or journals from M. D. Anderson Library will be met by a locked turnstile and a blaring alarm followed immediately by a confrontation with a UH police officer.

Some people have jumped over the turnstile to get away, but most people are too shocked to run, said Gunning.

"The alarm alerts the staff members to a problem so they can quickly get over to the turnstile to find out what is going on," Gunning said. "If the person is trying to steal from the library, we do call the police."

Gunning said library book theft is a problem at UH, but that it's no worse than at other universities.

Since January there have been seven incidents where the police were called to the library to deal with theft. In five cases, the people were arrested. Charges were filed in four of those incidents, said UHPD spokesman Lt. Brad Wigtil.

"Today most libraries have theft detection systems," Gunning said. "Sometimes people will absentmindedly walk out with a book in their hand that they forgot to check out, but sometimes people will conceal books to steal them."

Since library materials are state property, charges for theft can be filed against the offender, David Sarkosi, the senior communications specialist for UHPD, said.

Theft is a Class C misdemeanor if the materials are worth less than $20 and a Class B misdemeanor for materials worth between $20 and $200.

"It's standard procedure to file charges. Most people don't think we do anything and get angry when we do," Steele said.

In one case, the UHPD recently filed charges against a student who attempted to steal two journals from the library, but the district attorney rejected the charges. The student was issued a Student Life referral.

"Theft like this does happen, but like any kind of crime it comes and goes," Sarkosi said.

Back in the early to mid-'80s, the library implemented its present security system, Gunning said.

"We had an electronic system before this one, but the present one has been more effective at stopping theft," Gunning said.

With more than 2 million books in its collection, the library does not have any statistics on how many books and journals are taken each year. If a book or journal can not be located, a search form is filled out.

"It may be quite a long time after the book is stolen before we know it is stolen," Gunning said. "Sometimes people steal things temporarily. It's hard to know if the material is stolen, lost or has been hidden someplace in the library by someone working on a paper."

The library tries to replace books if they are still in print. Sometimes the books are out-of-print and are difficult or impossible to replace, Steele said.

Bound journals can cost hundreds of dollars to replace, Gunning said.

For popular collections like computer science, the library has put the materials on reserve so anyone wanting to look at the materials must show their student identification.

Gunning said the library needs a larger reserve room so popular materials can be taken off the open shelves.

Library officials are also trying to deal with the theft problem by making popular materials such as business and social sciences journals available on electronic disc.

Electronic journals can only be used on the library's computer network, so stealing them would be of little value to anyone, Steele said.

Gunning said that besides deterring theft, the electronic discs allow more than one person to use the same journal material at the same time.

Even though the theft problem has been reduced, any theft takes away from resources that could be directed toward improving the library, Steele said.

"Every time we replace a book, it is a new book we can't buy. Theft definitely affects the quality of the library's collection," Steele said.

 

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TREE-HUGGERS REVIVE CRUSADE

by Tanya Eiserer

News Reporter

UH tree lovers expressed outrage over proposed plans to cut down more than 100 trees to build the Athletic/Alumni facilities at the corner of Elgin and Cullen boulevards.

A Dec. 2 memo released by President James Pickering detailed the plans for beginning construction on the new facility.

"We hope the new facilities will be a pleasant gathering space for students," said Jim Berry, UH director of Facilities, Planning and Construction.

When UH originally announced plans to build on the site two years ago, a group of students led by Geoffrey Wheeler, a senior architecture major, protested by chaining themselves to trees and picketing the site.

Wheeler said he feels betrayed by the university because UH officials promised they would move the $6.5 million alumni center and the $25 million athletic facility toward the back of the lot and not build on the corner.

"They waited until all the protests stopped and the group disbanded. They just don't want us to bitch about it again. My response to this whole thing is bullshit," Wheeler said. "Everything about this building is wrong."

Michelle Palmer, who participated in the protests two years ago, said the Environmental Awareness group made up mostly of architecture students will meet to plan how they will protest the university's action.

The group will gather at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday in the College of Architecture Atrium.

Sources within the Grounds Department, who asked that their names not be used, said they were angry and bitter over the plans because the facility "could have been shifted over a little bit to avoid cutting down the trees in the corner."

Berry said the "overall composition of the project is very tight. This is the plan we came up with to get all of the project in the least amount of space to keep from removing as many trees."

When the original plans were announced, the UH grounds maintenance survey found that just on the corner of the lot there were 11 water oaks, 16 pin oaks and 20 hickory trees.

Raymond Dale, Grounds Department manager, refused to comment Monday, but on Nov. 11, 1991, he told the Daily Cougar "there is no other wooded area on campus with trees like the ones on this site and moving the trees would probably be too costly." The trees on the corner lot are a naturally occurring group that began growing in the midst of World War II.

During the next few weeks, the university will start breaking ground for the new facility. Geri Konigsberg, director of media relations, said the trees slated for removal include 10 crepe myrtles that will be transplanted elsewhere on campus, 18 large diseased oaks, which were already slated for removal and 73 trees too big to transplant.

David Stanger, the landscape architect who decided which trees were diseased, said most of them had heart rot and crown rot. Both tree diseases are not contagious, he said.

Heart rot happens when the trunk hollows out and crown rot happens when the tree reaches maturity and the tree rots out from the top, said Stanger.

Konigsberg said building plans have always included the mass removal of trees from the lot.

Last year UH Athletic Director Rudy Davalos said the building would not be built at its originally-planned spot on the corner of Elgin and Cullen, but will instead be located between Hofheinz and the baseball fields so that the trees that were to be removed would be left alone.

Berry said the university decided the best place to put the building is on that lot.

"We investigated alternative plans, and could not accommodate the facilities without the tree removal," Pickering wrote in the memo.

The plans to increase women's athletics by constructing a softball and soccer field next to the baseball field changed the scope of the original plans, said Konigsberg.

The expansion of the project to include the fields meant the demolition of more trees than originally was foreseen, Konigsberg said.

After completion of the new athletic facility, 150 new trees (5 to 6 inches in diameter) will be planted.

Berry said most of the new trees will be part of the basic contract so they will not be cut if the project runs over budget.

About 50 or 60 existing trees will be allowed to remain on the lot, said Berry.

 

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UNIVERSITY STUDENTS KNOW THE 'WAIT' OF TABLES

by Jenalia Moreno

Daily Cougar Staff

Their clothing and hair are permeated with the odor of hot food, sweat and cigarette smoke. Their legs, back and arms ache from carrying heavy trays of food all evening.

But food servers never fail to remember why they wait tables when they count their tips. Many college students earn tuition money and money for living expenses by waiting tables.

Popular places for students to work are at any of the Pappas restaurants. Yet some Pappas food servers say the restaurant’s dress codes is too restrictive.

"They make you wear a starched shirt and line up before your shift to look over your uniform," said Steve Johnson, UH anthropology senior.

Johnson now works at Chuey's on Westheimer, which he said is more fun.

"It has a more casual dress and fits my personality," Johnson said.

He said for an average six to nine hour shift, food servers can earn anywhere from $50 to $70 at inexpensive restaurants or from $70 to $180 at more expensive restaurants.

Restaurants around campus, such as Pizza Hut and the Black-Eyed Pea, depend on students both as employees and customers.

"My whole business is based on UH," said Don Iverson, Black-Eyed Pea manager. "My business drops over 50 percent during the break."

Students can also work at Eric's or Barron's in the College of Hotel and Restaurant Management.

HRM majors enrolled in a food delivery systems class must work at the restaurants in the University Hilton, said Rebecca Phillips, UH junior HRM major.

Students working at these restaurants for class credit don't receive pay or tips, Phillips said.

She said that at the end of the semester, all of the tips are pooled and divided between the students, which usually ends up being about $30 each.

"It's like real work, but we don't get paid for it," Phillips said.

Students who are no longer enrolled in the food delivery course can continue to work in the hotel restaurants while receiving tips.

Seema Patel waits tables at Eric's and is a bartender at Barron's.

Patel said she likes her jobs, because she enjoys meeting new people from different countries.

"They talk to me about the hotel and the university," Patel said.

However, waiting tables isn't always a pleasant experience.

"I always thought it would be fun, (but) you can't...do things to please (customers) enough," Patel said. "They aren't going to do anything to make your job any easier for you."

 

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HEALTHY HABITS LOWER WEIGHT

Obesity is one of the nation's most common health problems.

According to Dr. Donald Wesson, an associate professor at Baylor College of Medicine, about 25 percent of Americans carry too much fat.

Studies have shown that overweight people live shorter lives because of health problems.

These people are more likely to suffer from heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and arthritis.

Body fat is made up of calories eaten but not used through physical activity. People become overweight when they eat more calories than the body can burn.

Wesson suggests less active and overweight people limit their intake of high-calorie foods and fill up on low-calorie foods such as vegetables and fruits.

Dieting is definitely not the answer, Wesson said. Crash diets can be harmful, and lost weight is usually regained when one resumes old eating habits, he said.

Wesson said the safest weight-loss strategies include eating well-balanced, low-calorie meals daily and performing modest exercises, like walking.

 

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FALL GRADS HAVE OWN CEREMONY NEXT YEAR

by Jenalia Moreno

Daily Cougar Staff

When most students get ready to graduate from college, they make out graduation invitations and search for just the right outfit to wear to the commencement ceremony.

But December grads at UH won’t take their first step into the real world by participating in a graduation ceremony.

They must wait until May for their official walk.

"I think it is kind of stupid, six months after you've graduated (and) started working, you come back to relive those college memories," said Bill Sterling, a senior accounting major.

Students and alumni complain every year that there are no December graduation ceremonies.

"I have been here for almost sixteen years, and I have been hearing (complaints) every year," said Wendy Adair, associate vice president of University Relations.

Adair said December ceremonies are not held at UH because it costs too much to hold the ceremonies twice a year.

It takes three months to prepare for the May ceremony, Adair said. Preparations include finding a major speaker, verifying grades, making diplomas and scheduling events.

Adair said that about 16 years ago, UH held an August commencement ceremony. This was stopped because almost no one attended, she said.

UH will try again though, and next year December grads will finally have a Fall Convocation, Adair said. She added that although the ceremony will have a major speaker and a few events, she was not sure whether students will wear a cap and gown.

"We will put a committee together, and students will be involved," Adair said.

At the May ceremony, grades have been verified for only the August and December graduates. The May graduates are actually referred to as graduation applicants, Adair said.

When the Fall Convocation is held, December graduates will also be referred to as graduation applicants, she said.

To have the Fall Convocation by the weekend after finals, Adair said she will begin working on the program's schedule next spring.

However, for now, students who graduate in December still have complaints. This is especially true for students living in the dorms who have to move out by noon on the Saturday after finals.

"I have finals all day Friday, and I have to walk in the hotel and restaurant management ceremony at 10 a.m. on Saturday," said Seema Patel, UH senior HRM major. "That does not give me time to pack."

 

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PROGRAM GIVES GRADS TEACHING JOB

by Lawrence Leonard

Contributing Writer

At the southernmost tip of the Texas border, alongside the Rio Grande, lies the small town of Rome, Texas.

Although the border towns lack the glamor and clamor of Houston or Dallas, the people living in tiny Rome are justly proud of their small homes.

They define their homes by the accomplishments of their children who have grown up there and traveled elsewhere seeking higher educational opportunities

Thanks to programs like Teach for America, these residents can now brag about the education they receive right in their home towns.

One UH graduate returned last August to teach fourth grade in Rome, Texas.

Alan Mayne, a 28-year-old Spanish major, said he wasn't planning to work in the bustling Roma Independent School District, which serves its population of 8000.

Nevertheless, Mayne said he had a personal goal of earning his teacher certification in Texas. Teach for America and Roma ISD were alternative ways for Mayne to become certified instead of going back to school for a degree in education.

Teach for America is an organization that matches nationwide school needs with degreed graduates who can commit two years to one school as a teacher.

Filling the dearth of certified teachers positions, these graduates can earn their certification after two years of service.

Teach for America comes to the UH campus every semester to interview applicants. Representatives aren't looking for education degrees but rather language, math and science majors.

Mayne said he was the only UH graduate at the Teach for America conference he attended.

"It would be nice if UH were better represented in this," he said. "There are a lot of UH students who would do very well in a program like this."

Even though Roma ISD is small, the students there have access to 20th century technology, Mayne said. Part of this is the result of Chapter One, a federal funding program for below-poverty-level income groups.

"Chapter One is supposed to make up and equalize the funding for a school," Mayne said.

"There's not a computer in every classroom, but there are several large computer labs. All classes use them two to three times a week. The programs are set up by a computer specialist, so all I have to do is bring my kids in, and they can adjust the program to advance at their own level."

UH students graduating next May and wanting to work for Teach for America by June should apply before the end of December.

"It is the primary duty of the school district in which you are employed to place you in a class," Mayne said.

Mayne said teachers in Teach for America will never be faced with a huge class .

"Here in Texas there is a 22-children-per-class limit on the elementary level," he said. "I have a 19-child class, so I have a good ratio."

Mayne said he also gets plenty of evaluations from this program.

"Teach for America is very supportive," Mayne said. "They send people to observe me in my classroom to tell me how to improve. The district will (also) evaluate me formally, like a test, but (evaluations from) Teach for America are informal to make me better."

Teach for America will allow Mayne to teach while getting certified through the University of Texas - Pan Am.

 

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LUCKEY LANDS SWC HONORS

FRESHMAN ADJUSTS TO COLLEGE BALL IN A BIG WAY

by Heather Ellis

Daily Cougar Staff

It didn't take Pat Luckey long to establish herself in the realm of college basketball.

Only five games into her collegiate career and she has been named Southwest Conference Player of the Week for Dec. 1-5.

Luckey racked up a total of 94 points in 104 minutes of playing time last week. She is averaging 31.3 points and 10.3 rebounds a game.

Coach Jessie Kenlaw applauded her performance.

"After the way she played this weekend, she deserves National Player of the Week honors."

The transition to college from high school is difficult for some players, but Luckey isn't worried.

"I really feel fine about playing in college, the difference between playing college ball and high school is that college is more intense," Luckey said.

Also intense is the scrutiny that Luckey has undergone since signing with Houston last year. She chose UH over basketball powerhouses Texas Tech and the Texas Longhorns.

She also endures constant speculation about her performance as compared to 1992 National MVP Sheryl Swoopes.

"It is great to be compared to her, but I am my own person," Luckey said. "Everybody's game is different and I will continue to play my way."

As for coach Jessie Kenlaw she is pleased with the player she has before her.

"It is a very exciting thing for me as a coach," Kenlaw said. "You have to be on this side to really understand what it is like to have someone like her on the team. She always gives 110 percent."

Coach Kenlaw has also heard the speculation of Luckey's potential and looks beyond it.

"I think that will she not only be as good as Swoopes, but she will be better," Kenlaw said. "We have been expecting leadership and I think that she provides that."

One thing Luckey is providing for the Cougars is offensive power. Good in the paint or from the baseline, Luckey has proven to be an effective player.

Last week she converted on 38 of 56 shots from the floor and passed out six assists while grabbing three steals.

At the Big Apple Tournament in New York Dec. 4-5, she was named MVP of the tourney after scoring 35 points and grabbing seven rebounds in the first game against William and Mary.

In the championship game of the tournament Luckey scored 35 points against Manhattan.

"This weekend we kind of clicked," Luckey said. "We knew we had to play pressure defense all of the time to win."

Coach Kenlaw agreed, considering her team is now 4-1, losing only to the sixth-ranked Auburn Tigers.

"Last week if I had to give us a grade for our defense I would have given us a C," Kenlaw said. After our past three games we have moved up to a B+."

Coach Kenlaw stresses that although Luckey is a crucial part of their success, she has four other people on the court also producing.

"Michelle Harris had a great game and Chontel Reynolds was named the top defensive player. There are many contributions that you can't see on paper."

Harris recorded Houston's first triple-double in a game with 19 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. Harris and Reynolds also earned all-tournament honors.

 

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COUGARS BOLSTER 1994-95 WITH SIX NEW B-BALL ADDITIONS

by Heather Ellis

Daily Cougar Staff

For the second year in a row the Lady Cougar basketball program has scored big with its 1994—95 recruiting class.

The Cougars have signed six top players, three in the early signing period, which was Nov. 10—17.

Rosheda Hopson, Amber Byars, Melissa Gerth, Jerri Cooper, Felicia Comeaux and Jennifer Jones highlight the 1994—95 roster.

"I feel good about the young ladies we have signed," coach Jessie Kenlaw said. "I think we have done a good job with our recruiting."

The recruiting coaches have been busy with the top prospects in Texas and around the nation. The Cougars' 1993—94 recruiting class was ranked fourth in the nation with standouts like Pat Luckey from San Marcos and Sandra Perkins from Chicago.

Like most coaches in Texas and especially the Houston area where local talent is abundant, Kenlaw wants as many hometown athletes as possible.

"Our number one goal is to get as many local kids as we can. We feel fortunate to have the commitments that we have," she said.

The basketball program's commitment to excellence is obvious in the athletes that have signed.

Byars is a 6-foot forward from Plano that Kenlaw said has excellent touch and range.

Hopson is a 6-foot-2 center from Moberly Community College in Missouri that Kenlaw said is a good post player who will give the Cougars height.

"We know we have to have balance and depth if we want to succeed," Kenlaw said. "We will be able to make the necessary changes when the time comes to play.

Kenlaw is enthusiastic about having players that will fill roles of guard and small forward.

The prospect of having top players in the Houston area makes Kenlaw's job exciting now as well as in the future.

 

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COUGARS SEEK THIRD WIN AGAINST EYE-OPENING SFA

by Adam King

Daily Cougar Staff

Houston coach Alvin Brooks says his team is going into Stephen F. Austin's Johnson Coliseum tonight with eyes wide open.

The Cougars (2-2) aren't taking anyone for granted, especially the Lumberjacks, a team Houston squeaked by 76-75 last year in Hofheinz Pavilion.

"They had us beat," said Brooks of last season's nail-biter. "If they make some free throws late in the game, we lose that game. We're not going to overlook these boys."

The Lumberjacks went 12-14 in 1992 and are 0-3 to start 1993, but they have several offensive weapons that Houston must negate if it hopes to win.

Nathan Randle, a 6-foot-5 senior, returns as SFA's leading scorer from last season when he averaged 18.2 points and 6.8 rebounds per game.

He is slightly below those numbers this year averaging 16.7 points and 5.7 rebounds, but he scored a season-high 20 points against Texas in the Lumberjacks' most recent game and grabbed six boards.

Deric Moten adds more shooting depth to SFA's starting lineup with 13.7 points and 6.3 rebounds a game, but that's where the firepower stops.

The Lumberjacks are making just .419 percent of their baskets while allowing opponents to score at a .466 clip. They are averaging only 65 points a game.

But SFA's halfcourt game kept the team close against a good Texas squad.

"They're going to come out and slow the game to a crawl," Brooks said. "If you don't get after them defensively, you could lose the game."

Turnovers should be a big key to winning or losing this game. The Lumberjacks average 17 per contest. If Houston's pressing defense is effective, the rout might be on in favor of the Cougars.

But Houston's players are still struggling to find the chemistry that molds individuals into a team. Yet Brooks said the connection is close at hand.

"You look at all the new guys we have and the new style of basketball," he said. "It (the chemistry) will get there.

"You see each different kid and how he responds to different situations. Then you get the feel for your team."

Brooks said he will use December to see where the team's weaknesses lie and make the necessary adjustments over the holidays.

The Cougars' upcoming matches should be a good barometer of where they stand in the pecking order. They face No. 14 Purdue Friday and No. 10 UCLA Dec. 20.

Tonight's tip-off is at 7:30 and can be heard on KPRC 950 AM.

 

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LUCKEY LIGHTS UP SCOREBOARD, CLAIMS MVP TROPH IN NEW YORK

 

Cougar Sports Service

For the second time in as many games, freshman Pat Luckey scored at least 30 points to lead the University of Houston Lady Cougars to another come-from-behind victory.

Luckey, a 6-foot-1 forward and former high school All-American at San Marcos, led the Cougars with 30 points and 16 rebounds to a 95-76 win over Manhattan in the championship game of the Manhattan College Invitational Sunday in New York.

The Cougars trailed in the championship game by eight points at halftime 43-35 but regained a one-point lead with a 13-4 run to start the second half.

They took the lead for good at the 14 minute mark after Luckey blocked a shot which Michelle Harris converted into a layup.

Behind Luckey's 20 second-half points, UH outscored the Jaspers 60-33 in the period. Four Cougars scored in double figures, including career highs from Chontel Reynolds (16) and Tanya Davis (19).

The victory propelled the Cougars to a 4-1 record and sets up a showdown with 16th-ranked Stephen F. Austin Wednesday in Nacogdoches.

Luckey scored 35 points in an 83-69 win over William & Mary in the opening round of the tourney on Saturday, the highest point total by a Cougar in three years.

Luckey earned the most valuable player award for the tournament, overshadowing Harris' triple-double performance of 15 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists against William & Mary.

Reynolds was honored as the top defensive player after recording seven blocks, nine rebounds and a steal in the UH's two games.

Houston's next home date is a matchup with the Lamar Cardinals in Hofheinz Pavilion. Tip-off is at 7 p.m.

 

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SYMPHONY GIVES HOPE

CHRISTMAS ORATORIO BENEFITS AIDS CARE-GIVERS

by Debbie Callier

Contributing Writer

"This is heavy-duty classical music," Houston Symphony member Ann Leek said about the Bach's Christmas Oratorio. She and some other symphony members will play next week to help raise money for AIDS care-giver next week.

The Oratorio is actually a series of cantatas. Each starts with a big work for the orchestra and chorus together. Then the orchestra and chorus usually do a chorale – a short piece that moves together in block chords, rarely more than 30 seconds long.

It's basically singing an 'Amen,' or reiterating the text sung in the big choral work. After that is an aria – a song.

Bach wrote them for the church services beginning three weeks before Christmas and ending on Three Kings Day – the official end of Christmas in Germany.

"One beautiful aria about Mary rocking the cradle has music that sounds like a cradle rocking," she said.

Ever since he came to Houston, Christoph Eschenbach has been trying to get the symphony to produce it, Leek said. The symphony does the <I>Messiah<P> each year. This year, 22 of the symphony's nearly 100 musicians will perform the Oratorio, as well.

Leek and Tom Rogers, a Houston real estate agent, have jointly organized this production to raise money for DIFFA – The Design Industries Foundation for AIDS/Houston. Rogers organized two other similar productions in the past two years. This is the first year that Houston Symphony members have participated

"It is the first time that Eschenbach has put his name to the AIDS cause," Leek said. "The only other place a symphony has done this is San Francisco. The sensitivity of this issue has made most places wary."

Eschenbach is musical director and conductor of the Houston Symphony. He helped Leek choose the piece and approved her hiring of Conductor Arthur Weisberg, Soprano Barbara Martin, Mezzo D'Anna Fortunato, Tenor David Britton, Bass Baritone David Tigner and the Houston Masterworks Chorus Chamber Choir.

"Weisberg has an astounding mind for music," Leek said. "The comments he makes about how to improve the music are so precise, that within five minutes it is beginning to take shape. He has an unusual grasp of what is needed to make a performance and a capacity for concentration that helps us attain a higher level of concentration."

The Oratorio is filled with solo performances. Leek, who plays second oboe in the Houston Symphony, hired what she called "tutti" players – players from inside the larger group, who normally never play solos. "You can't imagine how happy some of these people are to be doing this," she said.

The performances will be at 8 p.m. at three separate churches: Dec. 12 at First Presbyterian, 5300 Main; Dec. 14 at Memorial Drive Presbyterian, 11612 Memorial; and Dec. 15 at St. Luke's United Methodist, 4317 Westheimer.

Students can get a special $15 rate on tickets that are normally $37.50. They are available through Ticketron and Foleys and must be purchased ahead of time. A portion of the ticket price (the amount in excess of $7.50) is tax deductible.

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