H-Town Sports

Houston Sports Blog - Real sports cities have TWO Conference USA teams

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Finally...it's Hoops Season!

There's a very good reason to stay up late tonight, basketball fans. At 11:00 p.m. on ESPN2 in a first round Preseason NIT matchup, All-American candidate and Preseason C-USA Player of the Year Morris Almond takes the Rice Owls traveling hoops show out west to Spokane to take on the always ferocious Gonzaga Bulldogs.

The Zags are minus Player of the Year Adam Morrison and stud post player J.P. Batista, but they are returning a very talented lineup with a couple of stellar new pieces as well. Sophomore C Josh Heytvelt missed much of last season due to injury and will try and replace Batista as the Zags interior post threat. He will instantly be a more athletic, though less polished, threat on both ends of the floor than Batista was, and true freshman Matt Bouldin was perfect from the field in the Zags' season opening win over Eastern Washington. This year's Zags team will have less name recognition but may be a better threat to go deep in the tournament thanks to better teamwork and more depth.

Rice pasted the always dangerous Paul Quinn Tigers of NAIA fame in its season-opener, with the aforementioned Almond chipping in 24 points in 21 minutes of action. PG Lorenzo Williams had 11 points and 7 assists in only 16 minutes, and he will to deal with the pesky Derek Raivio tonight for the Zags. Tonight's winner will take on the winner of Colorado State-Baylor tomorrow night, also in Spokane.

The other team in town, Tom Penders' Coogs, nipped Lamar Odom, Cuttino Mobley and the rest of the Rhode Island Rams on Monday night 102-99 in OT, and in typical Penders fashion, the action was fast and furious. The Coogs escaped thanks to a last-second regulation tip-in by Robert Lee that tied the game at 90 and won on a three-pointer by Oliver Lafayette at the OT buzzer. The Coogs shot an impressive 18-38 from beyond the arc but were outrebounded 53-37. Next up for the Coogs is a home date with Monmouth.


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