Rutgers (8-9) at Houston (10-7)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, January 19, 1 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Hofheinz Pavilion (8,479) -- Houston, Texas. Television: CBSSN. Home Record: Rutgers 8-6, Houston 7-2. Away Record: Rutgers 0-3, Houston 2-3. Neutral Record: Rutgers 0-0, Houston 1-2. Conference Record: Rutgers 2-2, Houston 2-2. Series Record: Houston leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The Houston Cougars will be back in action on Sunday when they take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in an American Athletic Conference battle at Hofheinz Pavilion.
Rutgers, which is still in search of its first road win this season, picked itself up from a two-game slide on Wednesday with an 85-75 victory over UCF. The triumph pushed the Scarlet Knights to 8-9 overall and to an even 2-2 in AAC play. They will remain in the Lone Star State to battle SMU next.
Houston's most recent matchup ended in a much more disappointing result as it was annihilated 91-52 by 18th-ranked Louisville. The setback was the second- straight for the Cougars, who are 10-7 overall, with an equal amount of success in league action as compared to Rutgers (2-2). The next matchup on the schedule has them headed to face 17th-ranked Memphis.
These new conference foes have met only once prior to this season, with Houston capturing a 95-84 victory in December of 1973. Of course the rivalry will be short-lived, as Rutgers moves to the Big Ten next season.
Myles Mack put on a show to lift Rutgers over UCF, netting a game-high 25 points to go with eight assists. The Scarlet Knights shot a solid 47 percent from the floor, including a 10-of-22 showing from beyond the arc, while limiting UCF to just 36.1 percent shooting.
Mack is the top scoring threat for Rutgers, which is fifth in the AAC in scoring (76.1 ppg). The 5-foot-9 guard is averaging 16.8 ppg, while also turning in 4.5 apg, nearly twice his career average in that department. His efforts against UCF pushed his streak of games in double figures to nine. Kadeem Jack (13.5 ppg 6.8 rpg) is the next best option, but he had only eight points against UCF and has 12 points or fewer in four of the last five outings. J.J. Moore (11.9 ppg) is another solid scorer, while Jerome Seagears (9.7 ppg, 4.2 apg), who had 18 points against UCF, provides a boost off the bench.
Houston was absolutely dominated by Louisville, suffering major scoring deficits from beyond the arc (45-15) and off of turnovers (21-5), while recording less than half as many field goals (16) as the Cardinals (34). TaShawn Thomas tallied 16 points and 11 rebounds in the losing effort.
Thomas (16.9 ppg, 9 rpg, 3.5 bpg) is one of the better post players in the conference and has been carrying the Cougars by himself for most of the season, especially with Danuel House (13.9 ppg, 5.5 rpg) sidelined since early December after undergoing knee surgery. Thomas has registered six double- doubles on the campaign and leads the AAC in blocks. Jherrod Stiggers (10.5 ppg) is the only other double figure scorer on the roster, although he connects on just 35.8 percent of his shots from the field. A lack of options has hurt the Cougars, who rank ninth in the league in scoring (70.8 ppg).
This game will come down to who, between Mack and Thomas, can get enough help from their supporting cast. The Cougars may lack scoring depth, but they should be able to get enough from the rest of the lineup to pull out a win at home.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Houston 74, Rutgers 68
01/19 10:17:26 ET