Fertitta Center

The new Fertitta Center proves to be a fortress for Houston basketball

Tilman Fertitta boasts brand new Fertitta Center Houston Cougars Men's Hoops Facebook

Tilman Fertitta reminisced about his times in the old Hofheinz Pavilion as he dribbled out a basketball to center court during the pregame ceremony in front of a sold out crowd of 7,035 at the new Fertitta Center.

“I have the memories of Hofheinz Pavilion as a kid watching basketball games here and it was a great arena back then. Now, to be here 40 years later and to be such a big part of this is special.” said Fertitta.

Judge Roy Mark Hofheinz was a man who shared a similar vision as Fertitta. “We’ll build a stadium that will make Emperor Titus’s playhouse look like an abandoned brickyard.” he exuded. Titus’s playhouse is better known as the Roman Colosseum. The staunch Houston weather made sporting events a drag for locals, but his idea was even bigger than the city itself. In 1965, the completion of the Astrodome revolutionized how we watch sports throughout the world by being the first climate controlled indoor stadium.

Hofheinz was a man that loved the city of Houston as much as Fertitta does. If he were alive to see the old Hofheinz Pavilion transform into the new Fertitta Center, it would be difficult for even him to disapprove. The University of Houston has an adequate successor, while a statue of Judge Hofheinz stands triumphantly on the new grounds.

Fertitta donated $20 million dollars to the University of Houston to rejuvenate the new home of Cougar Basketball, nearly a third of the facility’s final cost. His eagerness to help the athletics program at the university has earned him the immortalization that comes with naming the building after him, and an induction into the UH Athletics Hall of Honor alongside UH President Renu Khator.

Exactly 48 years later to the day of when Hofheinz Pavillion first opened its doors, the Fertitta Center did the same and received the promising NBA prospect 7’2 Bol Bol, and the then No. 18 Oregon Ducks.

As UH won the tip off, you could gauge how tough it will be for other schools to come in and steal a win. The intimate arena does not have a single bad seat, and its low ceilings seemingly offers a huge acoustic home team advantage. That advantage was confirmed as Jr. Guard Armoni Brooks opened up the scoreboard by hitting back to back 3-pointers. With the help of Senior Guard Corey Davis Jr. and Preseason AAC Freshman of the Year in Guard Nate Hinton, UH would go into halftime with a 37-18 lead.

There were zero lead changes in the entire game, but that doesn’t mean the Ducks didn’t come close to one. Bol Bol and company began to rally back into contention, where they even had a 10-0 run halfway through the second half. Houston began to give up rebounds, turnovers, and missed some important free throws. Coach Sampson even took off his tie, as he typically does when his team begins to lose traction in games. The score got as close as 63-61 with 11 seconds left, but Brooks closed the game out with two clutch, game sealing free throws.

Houston won its inaugural game at the Fertitta Center 65-61. They improve to 6-0 in the season and will play Lamar (Beaumont, TX) next. The Cougars extend their home win streak to 20 games, which is tied for second longest active streak. Oregon falls to 4-3, where they previously lost to another Houston school, TSU. The AP Poll came out Monday morning and dropped the Ducks, while UH remains unranked but is lingering to make a future appearance. The Coogs are also one in eleven teams who remain undefeated in all of college hoops. 

Improvements and renovations to TDECU Stadium, Guy V Lewis Development Facility, Schroeder Park, and Fertitta Center all came within the last four years. As a result, we’ve seen the baseball and football programs continually improve and land better recruits year after year. Undoubtedly, the UH basketball program will follow and more than likely surpass the success of the other programs.

"One of the ways you build brand awareness is through your athletics department. It's a proven fact that if you have winning athletics, money pours back into the university." explained Fertitta.

College Basketball Report

UH rolls into Top 25; UT splits

Galen Robinson has been a beast for UH. Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

TEXAS LONGHORNS (6-3)

Last week (1-1):
L- VCU 54-53, W- Purdue 72-68.

This week: Saturday vs. Grand Canyon.

Texas basketball continues to be a roller coaster this year. The week started with the Horns dropping their third straight game, 54-53 to VCU. It was an ugly game for offense, as the Rams won the game shooting just 28%. Texas committed 18 turnovers in the game, and VCU turned those into 17 points. Kerwin Roach was the poster boy for the offensive struggles, as he went 1-for-11 from the field. Jericho Sims was the only Longhorn in double digits, scoring 14 in the loss. Texas then came back with a 72-68 win over Purdue. The three-ball finally started falling for Texas, who hit 44% from deep. Turnovers continue to plague Texas, though, adding 15 more in the game. Matt Coleman led the charge offensively for Texas, scoring 22 points in the win. Texas has just one game this week, Saturday vs. Grand Canyon.

TEXAS A&M; AGGIES (3-4)

Last week (0-0): Boston College- Canceled

This week: Saturday vs. Oregon State

The Aggies didn't play this week. Their scheduled game against Boston College was canceled due to mechanical issues with BC's charter plane, compounded by poor weather in the northeast. The Aggies are back in action on Saturday against Oregon State.

HOUSTON COUGARS (8-0)

Last week (2-0): W- Lamar- 79-56, W- @ Oklahoma State 63-53

This week: Wednesday vs. LSU, Sunday vs. Saint Louis

Cougar hoops continues to roll, tacking on two more wins last week. The first was a 79-56 drubbing of Lamar. The win was the 21st straight home win for UH, and it was never in question. Galen Robinson led the way with 20 points, and Armani Brooks added 17 points and 9 rebounds. The Cougars hit 47% of their shots and were plus-10 in rebounding. They then traveled to Stillwater, OK, and promptly put the boots to Oklahoma State 63-53. Brooks had another big game, posting 23 points and 8 rebounds in the win. Rebounding was strong all around for Houston, winning that battle 44-33. The two wins were enough to push UH into the AP top 25, coming in at number 24. The Cougars get LSU and Saint Louis next week.

RICE OWLS (3-6)

Last week (0-0): No games.

This week: Thursday vs. St. Edwards, Saturday vs. UC-Santa Barbara

The Owls didn't play last week. They have two home games this week, against St. Edwards and UC-Santa Barbara.

BAYLOR BEARS (5-3)

Last week (0-0): No games.

This week: Saturday @ Arizona.

The Bears didn't play last week. They have a game at Arizona on Saturday.

TCU HORNED FROGS (7-1)

Last week (2-0): W- @ SMU 67-59, W- USC 96-61

This week: Sunday vs. Indiana State

The Horned Frogs had a good week, taking in two wins this week. The first was their first road game of the season, going about 40 miles to SMU's campus, where the Frogs took a 67-59 win. Jaylen Fisher and JD Miller both had 15 points in the win. All 15 of Fisher's points came from behind the arc. The Frogs then went out to LA, and dominated USC by a score of 96-61. TCU led by 20 at half and never turned back. Fisher again hit 5 3-pointers, accounting for all 15 of his points. Alex Robinson also had 15 points in the win. His 8 assists padded his lead as the country's top assist man. The Frogs have just one game this week, Sunday against Indiana State.

TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS (8-0)

Last week: W- Arkansas-Pine Bluff 65-47

This week: Wednesday vs. Northwestern State, Saturday vs. Abilene Christian

Texas Tech is still unbeaten, and still climbing the rankings after a 65-47 win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Tech has been a force on defense all season long, and this one was no exception. Pine Bluff shot 32% from the field and turned the ball over 20 times. Jarrett Culver led the way for Tech with 13 points, on a night where the offense wasn't exactly in sync. Tech is now ranked 13th, and starting to garner some real respect nationally. They have two free throw games this week, against Northwestern State and Abilene Christian.

SMU MUSTANGS (6-4)

Last week (0-1): L- TCU 67-59

This week: Saturday @ Georgetown

After three wins a week ago, SMU got sent back to earth against TCU, 67-59. The offense was a real problem for the Mustangs, who shot 36% from the field and just 16% from 3-point range. Jahmal McMurray was a bright spot for SMU, scoring 19 points, but even he shot an inefficient 8-22 from the field. SMU hits the road for a game at Georgetown this week.

LSU TIGERS (7-2)

Last week (1-0): W- Incarnate Word 91-50

This week: Wednesday @ Houston, Saturday vs. Saint Mary's

The LSU freshmen didn't play well a week ago, but they came back strong against Incarnate Word in a 91-50 win. Nad Reid and Ja'vonte Smart. Kavell Bigby-Williams added 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Tigers in the win. They led by 22 at half and never let the Cardinals within 20 points again. LSU shot 56% from the field and held the Cardinals to just 32%. Things will not be easy for the Tigers this week, as they have a trip to Houston and a home game against St. Mary's on the schedule.

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