Thursday, January 31, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 83


Aztecs too strong for Cougars

By Jake McKim
Daily Cougar Staff

Cougar forward Jeremee McGuire returned to his hometown of San Diego, Calif., on Tuesday looking to make a strong statement in his first game in the city since his high school days.

Kevin Harwerth/The Daily Cougar

Junior forward Jeremee McGuire slams the ball. Against San Diego State, McGuire had 18 points and 11 rebounds.

Despite a shaky start, McGuire scored 18 points, pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds and blocked five shots, his highest
total of the season. But his sparkplug performance wasn't enough, as the Cougars fell 78-66 to the San Diego State Aztecs.

With senior guard Dominic Smith out with an injury to tissue in his knee, UH head coach Ray McCallum experimented with a
new starting lineup, but with a lack of depth, the experiment failed to be fruitful.

Six-foot, eight-inch George Williams, who typically starts for the Cougars as power forward, started at the shooting guard
position next to point guard Kevin Gaines. Louis Truscott started at his usual small forward spot.

Patrick Okafor, usually Houston's center, moved into Williams' power forward position and McGuire began the game as the
Cougars' center.

It was McGuire's first start as a Cougar and he took advantage of the opportunity, but received little help from teammates.
Truscott, who can almost be counted on to score a double-double every game, finished with 19 points and 10 boards.

But the rest of the team never could get it together, with Williams managing only six points, Okafor five and Gaines only two.

The Cougars dropped their second in a row to fall to 11-9 overall. The Aztecs moved to 12-8 on the season.

The Aztecs roared out to an early 17-2 lead and continued to pour it on until the resurgent Cougars made a run to close out
the first half down 34-28.

The Cougars got off to a sluggish start in the second half, a problem they have endured all season, and the Aztecs rode the
back of Tony Bland, whose performance was anything but bland.

San Diego State built up a huge lead, and the Cougars never managed to get closer than 10 points the rest of the way.

"The win was extremely significant," Aztecs head coach Steve Fisher said. "Far from perfect, but it was what we had to have
and what we needed desperately, so we'll take it."

Bland finished with a career-high 33 points and six rebounds going 12-of-19 from the field, and Randy Holcomb added 14
points and seven boards.

Because it was a non-conference contest, the loss did not affect Houston's second-place standing in Conference USA's
National Division. South Florida, which is tied with Houston for the runner-up spot, also played a non-conference affair.

The Cougars will now head back home to take on Charlotte at 7 p.m. Saturday. Smith is listed as probable for that game.

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