Texas-San Antonio (0-1) at Houston (2-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, November 14, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Hofheinz Pavilion (8,479) -- Houston, Texas. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: UTSA 0-1, Houston 1-0. Away Record: UTSA 0-0, Houston 1-0. Neutral Record: UTSA 0-0, Houston 0-0. Conference Record: UTSA 0-0, Houston 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAMES NOTES: In a Lone Star State showdown at Hofheinz Pavilion, the Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners will clash with the Houston Cougars in non-conference action on Thursday night.
The Roadrunners' season opener ended in a 74-63 loss at home to Northern Arizona. Despite a career-high 17 points from Hyjii Thomas, the Roadrunners were unable to overcome 20 turnovers. UTSA also struggled with shooting from the perimeter, making good on just 2-of-14 shots from beyond the arc, while allowing six 3-pointers to the Lumberjacks. UTSA clawed its way to an 18-14 overall record a year ago but that included just a 4-7 mark away from home. Luckily for the Roadrunners the next three games will have them back at the Convocation Center.
Houston has had much more success to begin the campaign. The Cougars have secured two wins in as many battles with victories over two other teams from the state of Texas in Texas State (76-70) and Texas-Pan American (77-65). In the win over Texas-Pan American, the Cougars shot 51.9 percent from the field and outscored the Broncs both in the paint (40-24) and off turnovers (22-16). The Cougars were a 20-win team last year and playing at Hofheinz Pavilion also led to 14 victories
Even though both of these teams hail from the Lone Star State, this contest will be the first between them.
Thomas was not as effective as he could be in UTSA's loss to Northern Arizona. The senior guard hit 4-of-10 shots from the floor but did a good job getting to the free-throw line (9-of-11) to make up for the inconsistent shooting. Thomas, a Houston native, was used primarily as a reserve last year when he averaged just 4.8 points per game. However, with all three of the team's double figure scorers from last year gone, players like Thomas will be needed to step up. While Thomas' efforts were encouraging, Jordan Sims' showing was not promising. Sims started in all 32 games a year ago and though he was never called on to be a major scorer, his return this year warrants a jump in production. Sims had only two points on 1-of-7 shooting, including misses on all five shots he took from beyond the arc. Keon Lewis scored 15 points in as many minutes off the bench and may work into the rotation more often going forward.
Last year the Cougars were the seventh-best scoring team in the country (78.1 ppg) and they have picked up right where they left off, even without leading scorer Joseph Young, who transferred to Oregon. Helping ease the loss is double-double machine TaShawn Thomas. The 6-foot-8 forward posted his first double-double of the season against Texas-Pan American as he scored 19 points to go with a a season-high 14 rebounds. Thomas has been scoring baskets and crashing the glass as well as anyone in the last two years as he had 15 double-doubles last season and has now done so in five of his last six games. Danuel House, a 6-7 wing, has gotten off to a strong start as well, averaging 19.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game through the first two contests. L.J. Rose (13.5 pp, 6.0 apg) has also been playing well to open the year.
Thomas is a real force on both ends in the paint and without someone to match up with him, the Roadrunners will struggle.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Houston 78, Texas-San Antonio 64
11/14 10:36:12 ET