'Formidable Squad' Surpasses Expectations
ever for UH, with 23 points (on 10-of-15
shooting) and 16 rebounds. And the Cougars
outrebounded the more physical Rebels, 42-
37. But 39 percent shooting led to the loss,
89-69, the worst UH defeat of the decade.
Houston traveled to Minneapolis to face
the Minnesota Gophers in their next game.
But the team seemed to forget how to make
baskets; their shooting percentage of 33 percent was the worst of the year. Of the nine
men who played, only Richard Hollis made at
least half of his shots. Not surprisingly, the
Gophers coasted to a 65-50 win.
But a trip back to Foster's old stomping
grounds settled things for UH quickly. Playing in Lamar University's Spindletop Blowout, the Cougars first scrappled past Drexel,
91-88, led by Hollis' 37 points and Ferreira's
Then the unlikeliest of heroes led the Cougars to the tournament championship over
host Lamar. Tom Grant had two big moments in the spotlight this year — one in the
opener against Sam Houston when he scored
21 and the other against the Cardinals.
Grant's 19 led four Cougars in double figures
as UH skidded past, 71-67, raising their record to 5-2.
The Lamar tournament was important for
several reasons. Grant's performance in the
Lamar game allowed Hollis to shift to small
forward, a position much better suited to his
formidable penetrating and rebounding talent. And it also showed that Houston played
better with a different person playing shooting guard, if only to allow Hollis to shift down
with Ferreira and freshman Craig Upchurch.
That's where the other revelation of the
Lamar tournament came in, Horace Chaney
didn't make the list of eluding scorers in the
two games, so a key stat was overlooked by
many. Chaney scored 11 and 13 in the games
(his first double figure games of the year), but
more importantly, hit three three-pointers in
each, showing the ability to hit the needed
While Grant also made a minor run for the
position — with his Lamar game and 16
points and 15 rebounds in the next game
against Texas — Tom was a regular occupant
of Foster's doghouse since the coach first
arrived from Beaumont.
But before Foster could tinker with putting
Chaney with the starting five, Randy Brown,
Houston's point guard, quit the team and
returned to his Chicago home.
Rumors abounded; one newspaper speculated that Brown was considering transferring to DePaul or Chicago State, both
schools closer to home.
The reason for Brown's departure, he explained after returning a week later, was that
"I needed time to think and get my head
straight." Some of the problems worth pon
dering included UH's recruitment of Derrick
Daniels and Eddie Cumbo, two guards with
strong point guard abilities who could challenge Brown's lock on the job. Daniels, in
particular, had been quoted that he expected
to be starting for the Cougars next year.
The timing of Brown's leaving was troublesome; it was only two days before UH was
to travel to Austin for the Southwest Conference opener against Texas.
Foster moved Chaney to point guard and
he responded with 16 points, but only two
assists. Houston dropped the game, 65-63.
Things didn't get much better against New
Orleans in another road game, UH's fifth in a
row. Chaney again hit double figures, as did
Hollis and Ferreira, but also got only two
assists again. In each of Chaney's games at
point guard, Houston as a team had season
lows in assists with nine.
Brown was back, though, for the game
against Texas Tech at Hofheinz. This was
Craig Upchurch's chance to debut as star.
The freshman from St. Louis was a last-
minute signee for Foster, but he was still
expected to be a key contributor at power
forward. His rebounds had regularly been
there, but Upchurch was in a deep slump by
the time the Raiders hit Houston. Tech,
though, seemed happy to send Upchurch to
the free throw line. Craig hit 10 of his 15 free
throws along the way to an 18-point, nine-
rebound performance. UH won, 72-67.
One week later, he hit all eight of his shots
from the floor and led the Cougars to a 77-57
thrashing of TCU. But in the next four UH
games, the meat of the SWC schedule, the
Cougars picked up only one other win. When
the first half of the conference schedule finished, Houston was 4-4.
Then came Louisville and Virginia.
The second half of the SWC slate saw few
of the early-season stuttering problems. UH
lost only to SMU and Baylor, who would
finish 1-2 at season's end, as the Cougars had
a second-half record of 6-2, cementing the
fifth seed in the conference tournament.
UH blasted Texas in the first round of the
tourney, 72-57, locking the shackles around
soon-to-be-fired Horn coach Bob Weltlich.
But against SMU in the semifinals, Houston
never had a chance.
SMU was simply unconscious, throwing in
shots from all ranges and all types, while the
Cougars could only watch and shake their
heads. The Mustangs shot better than 61
percent for the game and devastated Houston, 98-76.
But UH's 17-12 record kept them alive.
Although they had too many losses for con-
Men's basketball team coaches, trainers, and managers. Photo by B. Ashley.
sideration for the NCAA tournament, the
prestige of the program — and the potential
scoring explosiveness shown in that TV game
against Louisville — earned a bid to the
National Invitation Tournament. The bid
continued Foster's record of reaching a postseason tournament in each of the seven years
that he has coached.
The first-round NIT game was at
Hofheinz, against the Fordham Rams. Although a vicious rainstorm kept many people
away, the Cougars played their steadiest
game of the year. The deliberate Rams tried
several times to shake Houston's up-tempo
inclinations. But Houston did what was necessary; playing strong defense over most of
the 45-second clock; then coming down
quickly to run the offense.
Brown was the biggest beneficiary of the
slowed play. Since there were few fast-
breaks. Brown got an unusually high number
of assists. In fact, his 15 set a NIT record for
one game as UH cruised to the 69-61 win.
The NIT pairing committee then sent the
Cougars to Fort Collins, Colo, to face Colorado State. CSU was paced by Texan Pat
Durham at center, and Durham and Ferreira
squared off in what was UH's best battle of
the season at center.
Durham scored 25 points while Ferreira
tossed in 21. The final outcome for the game
was similar: CSU finished the Cougars' season, 71-61. Chaney and Upchurch helped
back up Rolando with 15 points and 11, respectively. All of Chaney's scores came on
Houston finished 18-13, marking the second straight year that UH had reached 18
wins. Individual leaders in season-long stats
included Hollis leading the team in scoring,
three-point goals and minutes, and second in
rebounds, assists, steals and blocks.
In his last season at UH, Ferreira averaged
14.3 points and 608 rebounds.
Before the opponent even realizes the ball is gone
"00" steals it and is half-way down the court. Photo
by John Schmalz.
130 University of Houston