McKiver helps lead Houston to 84-81 victory over UCF
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Robert McKiver scored 23 of his 31 points in the second half Saturday night as Houston beat Central Florida 84-81 for coach Tom Penders' 600th career victory.
Penders, 62, took over the Cougars in 2004 and in four seasons has returned the once-prominent program to respectability. This year is his 34th season as a head coach.
Jermaine Taylor's layup gave UCF (11-10, 4-3) its final lead 78-77 with 1:34 remaining. Kelvin Lewis' 3-pointer with 1:13 left put Houston (16-4, 5-1) ahead to stay, 80-78.
Taylor's 3-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 a pair of free throws to put the Cougars back up by three. Mike O'Donnell's desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer bounced off the rim, preserving Houston's victory.
Houston hit 11 of 24 shots from three-point range in the second half alone. Overall, Houston shot 16 for 42 from beyond the arc.
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.
The Knights have lost three straight after winning their first three conference games. UCF built a 43-32 lead within the first three minutes of the second half, only to watch it dissipate in less than three minutes. Four Houston 3-pointers, including three by McKiver, brought the Cougars to within 45-44 with 14:42 remaining.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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