Jan. 27, 2007
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) - Robert McKiver and Oliver Lafayette combined for 35 points and all five Houston starters finished in double figures as the Cougars ran past Marshall, 77-61, Saturday night in the Henderson Center. McKiver scored 19 points and Lafayette added 16 points before fouling out with 2:18 left to play as Houston evened its season record to 9-9 and improved its C-USA mark to 4-2.
In addition to McKiver and Lafayette, Jahmar Thorpe scored 12, Marcus Malone added 11 and Dion Dowell finished with 10. Mark Dorris scored 21 points for Marshall (7-13, 2-4) and Markel Humphrey had 15.
Houston jumped out of the gates early as the Cougars made the first three shots of the game. McKiver opened the game with a jumper from the top of the key. Lafayette nailed a three-point shot just left of the key and Thorpe hit a jump shot from the free throw line.
After Marshall tied the score at 7-7, Houston used a full-court press to take over the game. The Cougars forced 13 first-half turnovers and jumped out to a 27-12 lead midway through the second half.
"We jumped on them early with our pressure and got them a little rattled," Houston head coach Tom Penders said. "Without (Marshall starting point guard Chris Ross) out there, we thought we could get away with a full-court press.
"We did the same thing at Tulsa last week when we got the momentum and the lead. It gave us some added confidence."
With the score tied 7-7, Houston used a full-court press to take over, forcing 13 first-half turnovers and jumping to a 27-12 lead midway through the first half. Lafayette scored 13 first-half points as Houston raced to a 44-26 halftime lead.
In the second half, the Thundering Herd went to a 2-3 zone and Houston held the ball as Marshall was able to trim the deficit to 65-56 with 4:38 remaining to play.
"We were in a great rhythm against their man," Penders said. "I thought it was a good strategic move to go into the zone, and it slowed us down a bit."
After Marshall closed to within nine, Malone hit a pair fo three-point jumpers from the left wing to push the lead back to 15. He also made two free throws with 1:24 left to extend Houston's lead to 77-60.
Houston finished the game making 18-of-22 free throws and 11 3-pointers. McKiver went 11-of-12 from the line.
Houston returns home to Hofheinz Pavilion to play a non-conference game against Saint Louis Monday night, Jan. 29 at 7:00 p.m.
UH Alumni can get discounted tickets to Monday night's game against the Billikens ($10 for reserve tickets and $6 for general admission) by purchasing the tickets in advance Monday. To purchase the tickets, call (713) GO-COOGS or stop by the UH Ticket Office.
The Cougars return to Conference USA play on Wednesday night, Jan. 31, at 7:00 p.m., when Houston plays host to innercity rival, Rice University.