Monday, January 21, 2013

Houston Forward Danuel House Honored as C-USA Freshman of the Week

Photo by Darla Tamulitis-La Vita Loca Photography
Hightower High product collects award for third time in 2012-13
HOUSTON, TEXAS (January 21, 2013) For the third time this season, University of Houston forward Danuel House (shown right , # 23) was honored as the Conference USA Freshman of the Week on Monday.

The Hightower High product was the team’s leading scorer in road losses at C-USA rivals East Carolina and UCF. House averaged 18.5 points and 4.5 assists per game to lead the Cougars in both categories.

He scored a team-high 22 points at East Carolina for his fifth 20-point game of the season and followed that with a 15-point, 11-rebound performance against UCF on Saturday inside Hofheinz Pavilion for the first double-double of his young career.

Making his sixth consecutive start, House flirted with a triple-double against the Knights, dishing out a career-high six assists while playing all but four minutes in the game.

He picked up the weekly accolade for the third time this season. House earned his first weekly award on Dec. 10 after scoring 22 points with six rebounds in a 79-57 win against Louisiana-Lafayette on Dec. 15. He followed that on Dec. 31 after scoring 22 points with seven rebounds in a home win against Prairie View A&M.

House tied with Tulsa’s James Woodard for the most Freshman weekly awards in 2012-13.

Tulane’s Josh Davis was honored as the C-USA Player of the Week.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Houston drops overtime decision to UCF, 79-75

TaShawn Thomas scored 11 points and 
pulled down 15 rebounds against UCF. 
Photo by Darla Tamulitis-La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2013, All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2013 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (January 19, 2013) Any conference loss is tough, but when it is in overtime, it makes the sting all the more painful.

The Houston Cougars must have felt like they were pierced in the heart by the UCF Knights as they dropped a 79-75 decision in front of 3577 fans at Hofheinz Pavilion on Saturday evening.

With the loss, the Cougars fall to 1-3 in conference action and 12-5 for the season.

Houston got off to a strong start, leading 37-32 lead at halftime, but could not contain the Knights shooting in the second half while failing to keep the momentum of the first half going.

Freshman forward Danuel House stated that the second half break down was a lack of concentration

“Coach said (we have a) lack of concentration. We’re not concentrating harder. In (the) first half, we come out and we concentrate and second half, I think we as team, we get kind of, a little too comfortable with the cushion and the lead and then the other team, they sneak up on us.”

The Knights opened up the second half with an 8-0 run and from that point on it took its toll on the Cougars.

Houston was outscored 40-35 in the second half and 7-3 in the overtime perio

House led the Cougars with 15 points and 11 rebounds while TaShawn Thomas added 11 points and 13 boards to Houston’s total.

Joseph Young, Leon Gibson, and Jherrod Stiggers also scored in double figures (14, 12, and 11).

The Cougars connected on 29-of-64 shots for 45.3% while shooting 11-of-12 from the free throw line.
Sheldon Cooper was at Hofheinz Pavilion to support
the Houston Cougars on Saturday night.
Photo by Darla Tamulitis-La Vita Loca Photography,
Copyright 2013, All Rights Reserved

However, those performances were not enough to contain the Knights with four players scoring in double figures and making 50% of their shots from the field.

Houston head coach James Dickey summed up the UCF scoring by saying “it is hard to win when you give up 40 points in a half; it is just hard to do it.”

The Knights led the Cougars in most offensive stats; in-paint points (52-36), turnovers points (16-13), and fast break points (11-4).

Houston outscored the Knights in second chance points; 20-15.

The next game for the Cougars will be on Wednesday, Jan. 23 when they face Tulsa at home with a 7 p.m. tip-off.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Bazu Worku wins 2013 Houston Marathon

Photo by Darla Tamulitis-La Vita Loca Photography
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2013 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (January 13, 2013) Breaking away from the pack at the 13 mile mark, Ethiopia’s Bazu Worku  (shown left) extended his lead over his nearest competitors and won the 41st edition of the Chevron Houston Marathon.

His winning time of 2:10:17 was off his lifetime best of 2:05.25 that he ran Berlin’s heavy rain in 2010 and ranks as the 12th fastest time in Houston Marathon history.

Worku's best finish in 2012 at the Lanzhou (China) Marathon, where he placed second with the time of 2:15.21, with his best performance being the Dubai marathon where he finished 13th place with the time of 2:07:48.

As an 18-years-old, he began his marathon career in 2009, when he ran a 2:16:15 in Paris.

Ethiopia claimed seven of the top ten finishes in the Houston Marathon with American Andrew Carlson breaking into the top 10 with a 2:17.16 finish.

American Sergio Reyes finished in ninth place with the time of 2:19:27.

Marima Mohammad of Ethiopia won the women’s marathon with the time of 2:23.37.

Her performance was the second fastest time ever in the Houston event.

In the men’s marathon, Ethiopia’s Teferi Balcha and Molla Solomon were second and third respectively, with times of 2:12:50 and 2:14:37.

In the women’s event, Buzunesh Deba finished in second place (2:23.37) with Meskerem Assfa taking third (2:25.17). Both Deba and Assfa were from Ethiopia.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Freshman Danuel House Leads Houston Men’s Basketball Past SMU

Photo by Darla Tamulitis-La Vita Loca Photography
Freshman forward leads all with 28 points in Cougars’ Conference USA opener
HOUSTON, TEXAS (January 9, 2013) Freshman forward Danuel House (pictured left) poured in a career-high 28 points to help lead the University of Houston Men’s Basketball team to a 78-67 win over SMU in its Conference USA opener inside Hofheinz Pavilion on Wednesday night.

The Sugar Land, Texas, native and Hightower High product connected on 7-of-11 shots from the field and converted a career-high 13-of-17 attempts from the free throw line for his fourth 20-point game during his inaugural collegiate season.

House, who was the Cougars’ third-leading scorer entering the game, also added two assists with a blocked shot while playing all but one minute in the game. He topped his previous high of 22 points, set earlier this season against Chicago State and Louisiana-Lafayette.

With the win, Houston won its seventh straight game and improved to 12-2 overall. More importantly, the Cougars moved to 1-0 in league play, winning its C-USA opener for the fifth time in the last six seasons. SMU lost its third straight game and fell to 10-7 overall, 0-2 in C-USA.

The Cougars overcame a sluggish first half that saw them trail 36-32 at the break. The Mustangs took advantage of 61.5 percent shooting in the first half and forced 10 Houston turnovers to put the Cougars in a hole through the first 20 minutes for only the fifth time this season.

Houston used a pair of second-half runs to take the win. Trailing 47-38 on a tip-in from SMU’s Jalen Jones, the Cougars scored the game’s next nine points to build a 48-47 lead when House drained the second of two free throw attempts for Houston’s first lead since the 19:33 mark of the first half.

The two teams battled back and forth from there and eventually found themselves in a 57-57 tie on Jones’ dunk with 6:36 left to play. However, the Cougars erupted on a 12-3 run during the next five minutes to build a 69-60 advantage on another free throw from House.

SMU rallied and moved to within 72-67 on a 3-pointer from Nick Russell with just less than a minute remaining, but that would be as close as the Mustangs would get. Houston closed out the game with six straight points with four of those coming from House.

After falling behind in the first 20 minutes, the Cougars connected on 44.8 percent from the field while limiting SMU to only 30.8 percent. The Cougars also reduced their turnover number to three in the final 20 minutes while forcing seven SMU giveaways.

Sophomore guard Joseph Young finished with 20 points on 8-of-16 shooting from the field in 34 minutes for his team-leading sixth 20-point game this season and the ninth of his career. Senior forward Leon Gibson scored eight points with a career-high 14 rebounds. Sophomore forward TaShawn Thomas was held to six points but grabbed 12 rebounds with four assists, three blocked shots and a pair of steals.

Jones led SMU with 22 points and 13 rebounds, while Russell added 14 points, including a pair of treys. Ryan Manuel paced the Mustangs with a game-high-tying four assists.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Landry Dazzles as UH Women’s Basketball Tops Delaware State, 71-58

Photo By Darla Tamulitis-La Vita Loca Photography
Senior guard narrowly misses triple-double performance

HOUSTON, TEXAS (January 6, 2013) Senior guard Porsche Landry (pictured left) turned in a career performance with 30 points, nine rebounds and nine assists to lift the University of Houston women’s basketball team to a 71-58 victory over Delaware State in overtime on Sunday afternoon at Hofheinz Pavilion.

Landry hit the 30-point mark for the fourth time in her career while setting career highs in rebounds and assists to flirt with a triple-double performance.

Freshman guard Alecia Smith scored in double figures for the second time in the last three games with 16 points, while junior forward Yasmeen Thompson registered her third double-double of the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Smith gave Houston its largest lead of the contest at 35-24 with a fast-break layup with 17:52 remaining, but the Lady Hornets stormed back with a 24-7 run to take a six-point lead with just 5:53 left to play.

Landry then took the game over, finding Thompson under the basket for layup to trim the deficit to four.

After Delaware State’s Tierra Hawkins knocked down a jumper, Landry answered with a layup to keep the deficit at four with just over four minutes remaining.

Smith trimmed the deficit to two points with a pair of free throws, and after another Hawkins jumper, junior forward Te’onna Campbell made the first of two shots from the charity stripe, where Landry grabbed the offensive rebound and converted the put-back to make it a one-point contest.

On the defensive end, Campbell grabbed a steal and Landry sunk a fade-away jumper from the baseline to put the Cougars ahead by one with 1:02 left to play.

Photo By Darla Tamulitis-La Vita Loca Photography
Junior forward Marissa Ashton snagged another steal with 36 seconds remaining and Thompson grabbed an offensive board and followed with a layup with just over seven seconds left to put Houston up by three, but Delaware State’s Chelsea Dukes drained a 3-pointer with less than a second on the board to force overtime.

The Cougars (6-7) quickly put the contest out of reach in the overtime period, as Smith opened with a 3-pointer at the 4:36 mark.

Landry then followed with back-to-back 3-point plays, racing for a fast-break layup before stealing the ball on the opposite end for another layup to give Houston a nine-point lead in just over a minute.

The Houston native tallied 12 of the Cougars’ 16 points in the extra five-minute period.

Ashton also turned in a solid performance, posting eight points and three steals while pulling down 10 boards for her third double-digit rebound contest this season.

The Cougars shot 45 percent (27-of-60) from the field while the Lady Hornets turned in a 39-percent (23-of-59) effort from the field.

Houston out-rebounded Delaware State by a 42-37 margin on the glass while forcing 19 turnovers and swiping 10 steals.

The Cougars open Conference USA action against Memphis at 7 p.m., Thursday at Hofheinz Pavilion.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Lance Armstrong may admit to use of PEDs, doping, report states

Photo by Robert H Kelly
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2013 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (January 5, 2013) It is being reported by the Houston Chronicle and that Lance Armstrong is considering making a statement related to his alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs.

The report cited anonymous sources and stated Armstrong may be considered admitting to the use of PEDs during his cycling career.

The Austin, Texas resident was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles last year as a result of the investigation by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.

Armstrong won the Tour de Title every year from 1999 to 2005 and was competing in triathlons in 2012.

He returned to competing in triathlons, which was the sport of his youth, and road races after his retirement from cycling.

With his lifetime ban, he was also banned from competing in any sport which is a member of the U.S. and World Anti-Doping Agency.

This past spring, Armstrong competed in the Memorial HermannIronman 70.3 Texas triathlon in Galveston, finished in seventh place after leading well into the cycling leg.

A possible reason for the announcement, as was stated by sources quoted in both above cited articles, is Armstrong may want to get back into cycling and road racing.

Please check back for further updates.

Readers can follow Robert Kelly on Twitter at @texsportpub and on Facebook at TexSport Publications. You can also read his articles on by clicking here.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Astros, Rangers to begin 2013 MLB season on ESPN's "Sunday Night Baseball"

Photo by Darla Tamulitis-La Vita Loca Photography

By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2013 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (January 3, 2013) It is being reported at that the Houston Astros will kickoff its 2013 season in the American League playing the Texas Rangers on ESPN "Sunday Night Baseball."

The three-game series, which will begin the season for both teams, will continue on Tuesday and Wednesday after a day off on Monday.

The Astros were originally scheduled to have opening day on April 2.

The Astros and Rangers had played each other for many years during inter-league play, but the 2013 kickoff series will be the first of 19 times the two teams will face each other.

The two teams will meet 10 times at Minute Maid Park and nine times at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

They have faced each other 72 times in the past during the Lone Star Series.

The Rangers won 42 of the games while the Astros came out on top in 20 of the games.

Historical perspective of the Houston Cougars 10-2 start in 2012-13

Photo by Darla Tamulitis-La Vita Loca Photography
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2013 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (January 3, 2013) The Houston Cougars men’s basketball team has jumped out to a 10-2 start in 2012-13, their best start since 2007-2008.

Through 12 games, the Cougars have started 10-2 nine times, in addition to sporting a n 11-1 record four times and a perfect 12-0 start once.

In their nine 10-2 starts, the most recent came in 1992-93, when the finished the season 21-9 and advanced to the NIT first round.

The best season finished when they begin a season 10-2 were the years from 1982 to 1984.

During the 1982-1983 season, Houston went 32-5 and advanced to the national championship game, eventually losing to North Carolina State 54-52.

The Cougars continued their success on the court, again advancing to the national championship game in 1983-1984.

They again lost in the championship final, 84-75 to the Georgetown Hoyas.

Five of the seasons they started 10-2 (1955-56, 1972-73, 1977-78, 1980-81, 1991-92), Houston advanced to the NCAA first round.

The only season in which the Cougars started 10-2 in which they did not advance to the post-season was 1975-1976.

They finished 17-11 for the season and 7-9 in Southwest Conference action, dropping four of their final five regular season games.

In 1967-68, Houston started 12-0 and finished the season 31-2. They finished the season with two loses at the national championship tournament.

Their first loss was in the semi-final round of the NCAA Final Four.

They were ranked No. 1 in the nation and dropped a 101-69 decision to John Wooten’s UCLA Bruins in Los Angeles.

The next day, they fell to Ohio State in the third place game by the score of 89-85.

Earlier in the year, they previously faced off against UCLA in The Astrodome in what was dubbed as the “Game of the Century". They beat the Bruins 71-69 with Elvin Hayes leading the Cougars.

In school history, the Cougars have been to the NCAA Tournament 19 times and made an appearance in the Final Four on five occasions.

The 1966-67 team consisted of former Houston Rockets head coach Don Chaney and current radio analyst Elvin Hayes

Both were also members of the 1967-68 squad that played in the Final Four.

The 1981-82 featured former Houston Rockets players Clyde Drexler and Hakeen Olajuwon.

Drexler and Olajuwon were also members of the 1982-83 team.

The 1983-84 team also included Olajuwon and current Houston Director of Basketball Operations Michael Young.

Houston sophomore guard, Joseph Young is a member of the current Cougars team and the elder Young’s son.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Isner, Almagro commit to play at US Clay Court Championships

Photo by Robert H Kelly
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2013 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (January 2, 2013) Two players ranked in the Top 15 in the world have confirmed their entry into the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Tennis Championships that will be held in April, 2013.

American John Isner and Spaniard Nicolas Almagro will compete in the 45th edition of the championship at Houston’s River Oaks Country Club.

According to the ATP WorldRanking ending Dec. 31, 2012, Almagro is ranked No. 11 while Isner is ranked No. 14.

Almagro led the ATP in clay-court matches; wining three titles in the past five seasons, with a lifetime record of 206-97.  

In addition, he has 12 career finals appearances resulting and five titles on clay.

Isner, the 2012 runner-up at the 2012 championship, is the top rankled American player in the world.

Early in 2012, he climbed top No. 9 in the world

He won two titles in 2012 with a record of 45-21, earning $1.3 million in prize money.

In his career, he is 165-108 and has earned a total of $4.4 million in prize money.

Almagro highest ranking of his career was No. 9 on Feb, 5, 2011 and has career earnings of $7.1 million with 12 titles.

His overall won-loss record is 291-191.

The championship will begin at 12 noon on Monday, Apr. 8 with first-round matches and will conclude on Sunday, Apr. 14 at 2 p.m., with the singles final.

You can follow Robert Kelly on Twitter at @texsportpub and on Facebook at TexSport Publications