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Robert McKiver Scores 23 Of His 31 Points In The Second Half To Help Cougars Come Back At UCF, 84-81

Feb. 2, 2008

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ORLANDO, Fla. -- Robert McKiver scored 23 of his 31 points in the second half as Houston rallied from an 11-point deficit to defeat UCF 84-81 in a Conference USA game at the new UCF Arena Saturday night. The win also marked the 600th career victory for Cougar head coach Tom Penders.

"I was really happy with this win tonight, not only because it was my 600th win, but because it was a huge win for our team," Penders said. "We overcame a lot of adversity early in the game when we couldn't get anything to go offensively."

The Cougars (16-4, 5-1) trailed 43-32 with 17:18 left to play after UCF's Mike O'Donnell made the first of his four three-point baskets in the second half.

That's when we went to our press and changed our defense," Penders said. "Our press helped us get back in the game because we were able to get some steals and create some momentum on the offensive end."

Four Houston three-pointers, including three by McKiver, brought the Cougars to within 45-44 with 14:42 remaining.

Dion Dowell gave Houston its first lead in the second half when he netted a three-point shot from the right baseline. The Cougars extended its lead to eight before O'Donnell nailed three consecutive treys to give UCF (11-10, 4-3) a 68-67 lead with 5:06 left to play.

The two teams fought back and forth the rest of the way. After Taylor's lay-up gave the Knights their final lead 78-77 with 1:34 remaining. Kelvin Lewis' made a three-pointer with 1:13 left put Houston ahead to stay, 80-78.

Taylor's three-pointer with 4.9 seconds brought the Knights to within 82-81. After a UCF foul with no time ticking off the clock, Lanny Smith hit his second straight pair of free throws to put the Cougars back up by three. O'Donnell's desperation three-pointer at the buzzer bounced off the rim, preserving Houston's victory.

The Cougars hit 11 of 24 shots from three-point range in the second half and 16 for 42 overall from beyond the arc.

Houston also made a season-high 94.1 percent (16-17) of its free throws in the game. It is the fourth-highest single game percentage in school history and marks the second time this season the Cougars have made 90 percent of their free throws in a game.

Zamal Nixon finished with 17 points for Houston, which won for the fifth time in six games.

Taylor led UCF with 31 points, including 23 in the second half. O'Donnell finished with 16 points and Tony Davis added 11.

"I am very humbled to have won 600 games in my career," Penders said. "I could not have picked a better place than to win it than at the University of Houston. I have had a lot of stops in my career, but I am really proud to be associated with this University because of what it stands for. It is one of the most diverse universities in the nation, and that is something that I have always believed in."

"I was really happy with this win tonight, not only because it was my 600th win, but because it was a huge win for our team," Penders said. "We overcame a lot of adversity early in the game when we couldn't get anything to go offensively."

The Cougars (16-4, 5-1) trailed 43-32 with 17:18 left to play after UCF's Mike O'Donnell made the first of his four three-point baskets in the second half.

"That's when we went to our press and changed our defense," Penders said. "Our press helped us get back in the game because we were able to get some steals and create some momentum on the offensive end."

Four Houston three-pointers, including three by McKiver, brought the Cougars to within 45-44 with 14:42 remaining.

Dion Dowell gave Houston its first lead in the second half when he netted a three-point shot from the right baseline. The Cougars extended its lead to eight before O'Donnell nailed three consecutive treys to give UCF (11-10, 4-3) a 68-67 lead with 5:06 left to play.

The two teams fought back and forth the rest of the way. After Taylor's lay-up gave the Knights their final lead 78-77 with 1:34 remaining. Kelvin Lewis' made a three-pointer with 1:13 left put Houston ahead to stay, 80-78.

Taylor's three-pointer with 4.9 seconds brought the Knights to within 82-81. After a UCF foul with no time ticking off the clock, Lanny Smith hit his second straight pair of free throws to put the Cougars back up by three. O'Donnell's desperation three-pointer at the buzzer bounced off the rim, preserving Houston's victory.

The Cougars hit 11 of 24 shots from three-point range in the second half and 16 for 42 overall from beyond the arc.

Houston also made a season-high 94.1 percent (16-17) of its free throws in the game. It is the fourth-highest single game percentage in school history and marks the second time this season the Cougars have made 90 percent of their free throws in a game.

Zamal Nixon finished with 17 points for Houston, which won for the fifth time in six games.

Taylor led UCF with 31 points, including 23 in the second half. O'Donnell finished with 16 points and Tony Davis added 11.

"I am very humbled to have won 600 games in my career," Penders said. "I could not have picked a better place than to win it than at the University of Houston. I have had a lot of stops in my career, but I am really proud to be associated with this University because of what it stands for. It is one of the most diverse universities in the nation, and that is something that I have always believed in."

 

 

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