Houston Surges Past Marshall 71-58

Jan. 26, 2008

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Houston - Robert McKiver scored 19 points and Dion Dowell added 15 to lead the University of Houston men's basketball team to a 71-58 victory over Marshall in a Conference USA game at Hofheinz Pavilion Saturday night.

The Thundering Herd jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first minute of the game as Darryl Merthie and Pierre-Marie Altidor Cespesdes each nailed a three-pointer from each wing.

But, Houston came back with a 17-3 run to take control of the game and never looked back. Kelvin Lewis began the run with a three-point basket from the top of the key. Then Dion Dowell, who was in the starting line-up for the first time in four games, tied the score at 9-9 when he nailed back-to-back three pointers.

Houston grabbed its lead for the first time when Tafari Toney drove the lane for a slam dunk and Robert McKiver nailed three consecutive three-point baskets to give Houston a 20-11 lead.

The Cougars went on to lead 40-27 at the half. McKiver finished the opening period 12 points, Dowell added nine in the opening period.

Both teams fought back and forth in the second half before Houston surged to a 17-point lead, 49-32, as Lanny Smith hit Dowell on the left wing for a three-point basket.

Houston increased its lead to 57-38 with 10:38 left to play after Zamal Nixon scored five consecutive points on a three-point shot from the top of the key and a lay-up.

The Cougars led by as many as 21 points (66-45) before Marshall closed the game with a 13-5 run in the final five minutes of the game. Merthie, who finished with a game-high 22 points, began the run with a pair of three-point baskets.

Mark Dorris added a jumper in the lane and Tyler Wilkinson made both of his free throw attempts before Matt Walls closed out the scoring with his only three-points of the night on a three-pointer from the right wing with 11 seconds to play.

In addition to McKiver and Dowell combining for 34 points, Zamal Nixon and Marcus Cousin scored seven points off the bench and Smith finished with six points and a season-high 10 assists for the Cougars. Tafari Toney added six points and Kelvin Lewis finished with five.

The win improves Houston's overall record to 15-3 and gives the Cougars their best record since 1991-92 when they also began the year with a 15-3 mark. Houston also moved into sole possession of second place in the Conference USA standings with a 4-0 mark and will play top-ranked Memphis on Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. in Hofheinz Pavilion. The Houston-Memphis game will be nationally-televised by CSTV.



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