Wednesday, February 7, 2001 Volume 66, Issue 91



Cougars take on Blue Demons on road

By Crystal J. Doucette
Daily Cougar Staff

Sundayis 73-72 victory over Charlotte was sweet, but itis time to get back to business.

UH menis hoops take on DePaul in Chicago, Ill., tonight after an upset weekend. DePaul is 10-11 overall and 2-7 in Conference USA play, but the Cougars (5-15, 2-6 C-USA) will have to work hard to pull off a win on the road.

"Weire looking forward to the conference game against Houston," DePaul head coach Pat Kennedy said in a C-USA teleconference on Monday.

Considering the trouble UH has had this season, the Blue Demonsi confidence is understandable -- but UH did shock the conference Sunday.

"Iim really proud of it because weive been in those situations before and weive kind of given in," UH head coach Ray McCallum said Monday.

Junior guard Dominic Smith is taking on the role of scoring leader for the Cougars.

Pin Lim/
The Daily Cougar

Junior guard Dominic Smith has stepped up and taken on the responsibility of team leader for UH, pouring in 23 points and making the two clutch free throws with four seconds left for the win on Sunday. Smith also put in a conference season high eight steals for the night.

"(Smithis) a converted point guard," McCallum said. "He played two most of his life."

Smith is handling his new role on the court well. Heis second in C-USA in free throw percentage (90.7) and is No. 1 in steals with 2.2 per game. He leads UH in scoring average (13.3 ppg) and three-point percentage (42.3), playing an average of 32.5 minutes per game.

But basketball games require five players per team on the hardwood all at one time.

Freshman Alton Ford is still adjusting to Division I play, but heis beginning to show some of his recruiting potential in his recent double-digit offensive contribution in conference competition.

"I think he came in as a typical freshman, not knowing what to expect," McCallum said. "The last three or four games his confidence has grown."

DePaul is coming off of a tough four-game road schedule against Cincinnati, South Florida, Louisville and Saint Louis. Cincinnati downed the Blue Demons 91-70 on Saturday.

Sophomore center Steven Hunter played his first double-double of the season with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Hunter has 105 career blocks, putting him in seventh place in Conference USA record books.

Imari Sawyer contributed 20 points and four assists Saturday.

The Blue Demons outrebounded the Bearcats, 39-29, in the loss. DePaul has outrebounded its opponents by double digits six times this season.

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