Wednesday, January 23, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 77


Cougars look to soar tonight

By Jake McKim
Daily Cougar Staff

At this point last season the Cougars were 4-12 overall, 1-3 in Conference USA and just happy to be competitive against good teams.

Kevin Harwerth/The Daily Cougar

Junior forward George Williams fights for a rebound. Williams has solidified his play lately to prove himself a leader for the team.

What a difference a year makes.

This season the Cougars are in front of expectations and are sitting pretty with a 10-7 overall record, 3-2 in C-USA.

Houston has won three straight games including impressive victories over Texas Christian, Prairie View A&M and Alabama-Birmingham. All five
starters are averaging in double figures and seem to be coming together as a unit.

As if the news hasn't been good enough for the Cougars, junior forward Louis Truscott was named Conference USA Player of the Week after
averaging 17.3 points and 11.7 rebounds in three games last week. Truscott is now averaging 12.6 points and 9.0 rebounds on the season.

Sophomore point guard Kevin Gaines, who transferred from Michigan, seems to be settling into his role as floor leader, averaging 12.5 points,
and senior center Patrick Okafor is averaging 13.8 points and 6.7 rebounds.

Dominic Smith, a 5-10 senior shooting guard, has overcome his lack of height to average 13.3 points, and George Williams is averaging 11.4
points with 7.9 boards.

The Cougars have also received much-needed contributions all season long from junior guard Marcus Oliver, junior forward Jeremee McGuire
and freshman Bryan Shelton.

Riding high and always looking to improve, the Cougars will next face Southern Miss at 7:30 tonight at Hofheinz Pavilion.

Guided by Elvin Mims, the Eagles are 6-9 overall and 1-4 in C-USA. Mims is averaging 19.2 points a game. Clement Carter is the only other
Golden Eagle averaging double figures with 10.7 points per game.

Southern Miss has dropped its last two games, falling to Tulane 70-61 and Memphis 73-64 last week.

After Southern Miss, the nationally heralded Memphis Tigers will come to town to scratch it out with the Cougars at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The
Tigers boast an intimidating starting lineup including Dajuan Wagner, the nation's No. 1 high school recruit last season.

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