Monday, February 19, 2001 Volume 66, Issue 99



Ford steps up as Coogs fall to USF, 79-60

By Jake McKim
Daily Cougar Staff

UH freshman center Alton Ford finally had his coming-out party Saturday. Unfortunately for the Cougars, his teammates must not have received the invitations.

The men's team traveled to Tampa, Fla., to face a talented South Florida squad that didn't take kindly to strangers in their home, beating the Cougars 79-60. With the win, USF moved to 11-1 at home, 16-9 overall and 8-4 in Conference USA, a record good enough to move the Bulls back into a tie with Memphis atop the National Division.

Freshman center Alton Ford played up to his potential with a 19-point performance in a loss at South Florida on Saturday.

Pin Lim/
The Daily Cougar

Ford, one of UH's most highly prized recruits, scored a career-high 19 points and pulled down eight rebounds in 38 minutes before fouling out with 2:54 remaining in regulation.

George Williams added 12 points and seven rebounds, Bernard Smith had 10 points off the bench and Dominic Smith scored a below-average seven points. Houston's other starter, Marcus Oliver, played only four minutes, leaving the game early due to a bout of flu.

On the other sideline, the stats were impressive. Junior Altron Jackson threw in 24 points to go along with 10 rebounds while junior B.B. Waldon contributed an important 18 points and 13 boards.

Freshman center Gerrick Morris had 12 points and eight rebounds and Reggie Kohn came off the bench to score eight points and five assists.

"It was a very difficult challenge for us," UH head coach Ray McCallum said. "It was tough for us to match up against Jackson and Waldon. Their experience really showed."

The Cougars had 16 turnovers compared to USF's 12, a number that McCallum was understandably unhappy with.

"We had way too many turnovers," McCallum said. "We're not going to win on the road with those kinds of numbers."

If there was a bright spot for UH, it was Ford, who has been asserting himself more lately and playing with more control and intensity.

"He really competed," McCallum said. "I told him to keep working hard and something good would happen. His patience showed tonight."

The Cougars shot 19-for-48 from the field for a dismal 39.6 percent. South Florida fared better, going 29-for-60 for 48.3 percent shooting and three-for-six from the three-point stripe.

Down 33-22 at halftime, the Cougars were able to pull within six, 39-33 with 15:39 remaining. That's as close as they ever got.

"We had some success but we just ran out of gas at the end," McCallum said. "We'll watch some film on St. Louis and hopefully get a win at home Monday."

St. Louis (13-11, 5-6 C-USA) brings its 4-7 road record to Hofheinz Pavilion Monday at 7 p.m. The Billikens, led by Matt Baniak, Maurice Jeffers and Marque Perry, are in fifth place in the American Division.

The Cougars have five games remaining before the C-USA Tournament begins March 7, three of which will take place at home. To match last season's regular season record of 8-21, the Cougars must win three of their last five.

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