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Volume 72, Issue 106, Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Sports

Backcourt scores all-conference honors

by RONNIE TURNER
The Daily Cougar

When senior Lanny Smith went down with a foot injury in the preseason, the Cougars were left without their starting point guard and senior leader, roles that had to be filled quickly.

By the start of the season, junior guard Robert "Fluff" McKiver and senior guard Oliver Lafayette, respectively, had settled into these positions. Initially, the transition didn't go over smoothly, but as the season went along, the two became more comfortable.

McKiver, a transfer from San Jacinto, had played mostly shooting guard in the past but developed into a high-scoring threat with playmaking abilities. Lafayette struggled offensively throughout the season, but was a ferocious on-the-ball defender.

The two were properly recognized for their efforts when they were named to the All-Conference USA Team on Tuesday. McKiver received a spot on the first team and Lafayette was named to the second team for the second consecutive season.

"Fluff is the first (first team) all-conference player I've had since I've been here," UH head coach Tom Penders said. "It's a great honor and I'm very proud and happy for him."

McKiver currently leads the Cougars in scoring (19.1 points per game), assists (3.6 per game) and minutes played (37.5 per game), ana has started all but one game this season. His scoring average is the second-highest in C-USA.

Lafayette is Houston's second-leading scorer at 14.3 points per game. His team-high steals average of 2.5 per game also leads the league.

The awards announcement came as the Cougars were preparing for the coming C-USA Tournament, which starts Wednesday in Memphis. The winner of the tournament receives the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Houston (16-14) enters the tournament as the third seed with a first-round bye and won't play until Thursday.

At the moment, McKiver is focused on helping the Cougars have a successful run in the tournament and doesn't have much time to enjoy his award.

"I thank God for the honor, and maybe I can enjoy it when the season is over," McKiver said. "My focus right now is (on making it to the) postseason."

Joining McKiver on the first team were Joey Dorsey and Chris Douglas-Roberts of Memphis, Rice senior guard Morris Almond and Alabama-Birmingham junior guard Paul Delaney III.

Send comments to dcsports@mail.uh.edu

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