Feb. 20, 2008
BIRMINGHAM - Senior guard Robert McKiver scored a career-high 41 points, but it would not be quite enough as UAB escaped with a 101-99 win over the University of Houston men's basketball team Wednesday at Bartow Arena.
Aaron Johnson's running jumper with less than two seconds remaining broke a 99-99 tie and lifted the Blazers to the win.
In a game that featured plenty of long-range shooting, it was the free-throw shooting in the final two minutes that determined much of the game. McKiver hit a 3-pointer with 1:43 remaining to cap a 5-0 run by the Cougars and knotted the game at 95-95. After both teams traded missed shots, UAB's Reggie Huffman connected on a fast-break lay-up with less than a minute to hand the Blazers a 97-95 lead.
On the ensuing possession, McKiver was fouled and calmly drilled both attempts from the free-throw line to tie the game at 97-97 with 51 seconds to go. The New Haven, Conn., native finished the night 10-for-10 from the charity stripe.
Following a Cougar timeout, UAB forward Robert Vaden was fouled with 31 seconds left and connected on both of his free throws to give the Blazers a 99-97 advantage.
The Cougars took over and, after McKiver misfired on a 3-point attempt, junior center Marcus Cousin snared the offensive rebound and dished to senior guard Marcus Malone, who was fouled with less than 10 seconds remaining.
The Compton, Calif., native connected on his first free-throw attempt and, after a UAB 60-second timeout, drilled the next attempt to tie the game at 99-99.
The Blazers then raced down the end of the court, where Johnson's running floater - his only basket of the night - trickled through the net with 2.9 seconds remaining, sending most of the crowd of 6,013 into bedlam. The Cougars attempted to race down the floor, but Malone's desperation shot at the buzzer was off the mark.
With the loss, the Cougars fell to 19-6 overall and 8-3 in C-USA action. UAB improved to 18-8 overall and 8-3 in C-USA play.
McKiver did a little of everything for the Cougars in the losing effort. In addition to his career-high point total, he also dished out a game-high seven assists while running the offense at the point and snared a team-best six rebounds.
It was his seventh straight game with at least 20 points and topped his previous career-high of 37 points set against Charleston on Nov. 18, 2007.
Junior guard DaShaun Williams added a career-best 23 points, including 15 in the first half alone, while senior forward Dion Dowell added 17 points, thanks in large part to 5-of-6 shooting from behind the arc.
Both teams put on an offensive clinic with each squad hitting at least 49 percent from the field, 42 percent from the 3-point line and 81 percent from the charity stripe. The Cougars finished the night hitting a season-best 56.9 percent from the field, including a sparkling 61.3 percent through the game's first 20 minutes. That first-half shooting included a 9-of-14 effort from the 3-point stripe.
Meanwhile, the Blazers nailed 49.2 percent of their shots, including 12-of-24 from the field in the second half.
Huffman and Lawrence Kinnard each scored 22 points to lead UAB, while Channing Toney and Vaden added 18 and 15 points, respectively. Huffman also finished with a game-high 11 rebounds.
The Cougars return to action at 7 p.m., Saturday when they play host to C-USA rival Rice at Hofheinz Pavilion. Fans can hear the game live on 790 AM The Sports Animal with Tom Franklin calling the play-by-play action and Carl Dukes providing color analysis.
Fans always can follow live stats on the Internet by clicking on the Gametracker link at UHCougars.com.
In a Cougar Doubleheader promotion for Saturday, fans can purchase reserved tickets for the Men's Basketball game against Rice for only $10. However, these discounted tickets only will be available at the Marketing table located on the concourse at Cougar Field during Saturday afternoon's baseball game against Pacific.
The Cougar Baseball team continues its season-opening series at 3 p.m., Saturday, against Pacific.
Representatives from the Marketing Office will be selling Men's Basketball tickets to the Rice game through the end of the seventh inning.
All Cougar fans are invited to come out to both games and enjoy a full day of Cougar Baseball and Men's Basketball.