The Houston Cougars try to get back into the win column tonight as they face off against the LSU Tigers in non-conference action at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge.
After picking up back-to-back wins against the likes of Northwestern Oklahoma State (81-58) and Louisiana (78-65) at home, the Cougars headed out to Fort Worth on Saturday for just their second road game and promptly dropped a 79-63 decision against TCU. It was the second loss of the season for Houston, both of which have come on the road for the squad.
As for the Tigers, they've captured two straight wins and three in the last four outings, but all four of their victories have come against programs from outside the power conferences. On Sunday the squad recorded an 80-65 win over South Alabama on the road which means the last three triumphs have all come by double figures for a team that is currently 3-1 at home.
In a series that dates back to 1962, the Cougars are ahead by a count of 9-5 entering tonight's battle. Houston has taken three straight over the Tigers, but all have been decided by single digits. The last time the teams met here in Baton Rouge the Cougars pulled out an 84-83 win back in 2005.
Adam Brown tallied a team-best 14 points in 28 minutes of work at TCU over the weekend, shooting 4-of-6 behind the three-point line, while Alandise Harris and Kendrick Washington accounted for 12 points apiece and combined for 11 of the team's 34 rebounds in the losing effort. Zamal Nixon chipped in with 10 points as the team shot just 40.4 percent from the floor and 13-of-25 at the free-throw line as they turned the ball over 19 times. Brown is putting up a solid 15.5 ppg to pace the Cougars through six games, his 53.8 percent accuracy behind the three-point line one of the best marks in the country for someone who has taken as many shots (14-of-26) as he has. While Brown is handling the action out on the perimeter, Maurice McNeil (11.7 ppg) is giving the Cougars some force in the paint with his 9.3 rpg. In fact, at this point he has more offensive rebounds (17) than all but two of his teammates have total boards. Unfortunately, McNeil's 52.2 percent effort at the free-throw line has dragged the rest of the team down to only 63.0 percent, so he has that working against him right now.
More than doubling the output of the Jaguars in the first half of their meeting two days ago, LSU led by 48-23 at the break in Alabama and never looked back in the 15-point victory. Andre Stringer led three players in double figures with his 21 points, shooting 4-of-6 behind the three-point line, while Ralston Turner and Aaron Dotson accounted for 17 and 15 points, respectively. Between the three of them they knocked down 10 threes, the team converting an insane 12-of-17 (.706) beyond the arc while hitting just 53.2 percent from the floor overall. After six games the Tigers are shooting 41.3 percent from three-point range, compared to just 30.1 percent for the competition. Stringer checks in with 16.7 ppg and is also first with 18 assists, yet he'd be smart to take the shot from the perimeter himself right now seeing as how he has made good on 17 of his 39 chances. Defensively the Tigers are holding foes to only 36.4 percent shooting from the field and 61.2 ppg, but a lot of that has to do with the questionable opponents on the early schedule.
LSU might be 3-1 at home, but the competition has not been top-notch by any means, which is reason enough to leave the door open for the Cougars in this matchup.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Houston 72, LSU 67