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Volume 68, Isssue 106, Friday, February 28, 2003


UH aims to finish strong

By Emily Davis
The Daily Cougar

Now itis down to the nitty gritty ­ and the Cougars are hanging on by a guitar string.

But before UH teams up with Jerry Jeff Walker for its own rendition of Mr. Bojangles, it has to get over a 56-52 loss to Tulane ­ a game the Cougars had all but won until the last minute of play ­ and concentrate on winning the last three games of the season if it wants to dance into the postseason.

Sophomore guard Andre Owens scored 20 points in Wednesdayis loss to Tulane. UH will have an opportunity to make up for the 56-62 loss when it faces Texas Christian on Saturday.

Kevin Harwerth/The Daily Cougar

"We work on taking each game at a time," said sophomore guard Andre Owens, who had a game-high 20 points against the Green Wave. "But we are also looking to the tournament with high hopes."

Despite losing six of their last seven games, the Cougars (7-17, 5-8 in Conference USA) remain in good position for a conference tournament bid.

UH is three games ahead of East Carolina (3-11) and two ahead of Southern Miss (4-10) in the loss column. With the two worst teams excluded from the tournament, Texas Christianis early elimination means one of those three teams won't be heading to Louisville on March 12.

"All that matters is making a postseason appearance," head coach Ray McCallum said. "Thatis what we work for all season."

So the work will continue for UH when it hosts TCU at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Hofheinz Pavilion. The Cougars defeated the Horned Frogs 61-56 when the teams met in Fort Worth earlier this month.

Senior Louis Truscott, who had 12 points and six rebounds against Tulane, continues to be the Cougarsi rock. Truscott is the conference's top rebounder, averaging 11.4 per game, and is 11th in the league in scoring (15.4 points per game).

"We rely on Truscott each game," McCallum said. "When he has a big night, we have a big night."

But Truscott hasnit shouldered the burden alone. Freshman Cederic Hensley has come into his own since becoming a starter at forward and is averaging 7.1 points per game. Hensley had seven points and three assists in Wednesday's game.

The last-place Horned Frogs, meanwhile, will be playing for pride on Saturday. TCU (8-18, 2-12) is coming off an 88-64 loss to Memphis on Wednesday and is looking for its first road win of the season.

Led by Junior Blount and Corey Santee, who each had 14 points against Memphis, the Horned Frogs will be looking to keep UH at home for the Ides of March. 

But the Cougars wonit look past TCU.

"We take every team seriously," Truscott said earlier this month. "A game is a game."

After Saturdayis game, the Cougars will continue their home stretch against first-place Memphis on March 6 before wrapping up regular-season play at DePaul on March 8.

The C-USA Tournament begins March 12 in Louisville, Ken.

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