McKiver helps lead Houston to 84-81 victory over UCF

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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP)—Robert McKiver scored 23 of his 31 points in the second half as Houston rallied from an 11-point deficit to defeat Central Florida 84-81 in a Conference USA game Saturday night.

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.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Houston
Rob McKiver Rob McKiver
9-16,  31 Pts
5 Rebs, 5 Assists
 UCF
Jermaine Taylor Jermaine Taylor
11-20,  31 Pts
6 Rebs, 2 Assists

Team Stat Leaders

Points
Rebounds
Assists