Men's Basketball Posts Big Win at Houston

GO KNIGHTS Marcus Jordan made all nine of his field goal attempts and totaled a career-high 23 points at Houston.
Marcus Jordan made all nine of his field goal attempts and totaled a career-high 23 points at Houston.

Jan. 20, 2010

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By Doug Richards

HOUSTON ( - Behind a career-high 23 points from freshman guard Marcus Jordan (Highland Park, Ill.), and a total team effort on both sides of the ball, the UCF men's basketball team posted a big Conference USA win Wednesday, defeating Houston 78-71 at Hofheinz Pavilion. The Knights (10-8, 2-2 C-USA) took a big lead early, and then withstood a late rally to post the victory.

Jordan was one of four players to finish with double-figures in scoring for the Knights, who limited Houston (10-8, 3-2) to just a 25.4 percent shooting performance for the game. "I am proud of the total team effort. We played with great poise and intensity for the entire game," UCF head coach Kirk Speraw said. "Our defense early really set the tone. This is a big win for our team."

With the win, Speraw now has 274 victories at UCF, which is tied for first in school history with the legendary Torchy Clark.

The Knights led 66-46 with 4:29 to play after Jordan scored inside, but the Cougars press then caused havoc for the visitors. The nation's leading scorer, Aubrey Coleman, scored 25 of his 30 points in the second half, and did most of his damage late in the game at the free-throw line. The Knights held off the rally, hitting five free throws (four from Jordan) in the final minute of the game.

Jordan made all nine of his field goal attempts, and also added six boards in 28 minutes.

"I knew that this was going to be a big game for us," Jordan said. "I just wanted to go out and provide our team with the boost just to get the W. I just want to look to go out and attack more (offensively). The team needs somebody who can be more consistent scoring points, and I feel like that I can be that guy."

The Knights shot 50.9 percent from the field for the game, and finished with a 49-38 edge on the glass. Junior forward A.J. Tyler (Palm Harbor, Fla.) shot 8-of-17 overall and matched his career high with 19 points and also totaled nine rebounds. The contest was the second in a row on the road for the Knights, who played at Tulsa Saturday.

UCF shot 57.7 percent overall in the first half, and led by as many as 18 points before intermission. The squad used a 13-2 run midway through the period to build its advantage.

Tyler scored 12 points in the first half, and Jordan added 10. The Cougars made frequent trips to the foul line late in the half, but shot just 26.9 percent from the floor as the Knights took a 34-23 lead into the break.

In the winning effort, redshirt freshman forward David Diakite (Washington, D.C.) just missed a double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds. Sophomore guard A.J. Rompza (Chicago, Ill.) hit 8-of-12 free throws and scored 10 points to go with five assists.

UCF will return to action Saturday, hosting UTEP at 5 p.m. at the UCF Arena. The Miners won at Memphis Wednesday, snapping the Tigers' 64-game C-USA winning streak.

"The league is tough. There are so many good teams, including Houston," Speraw said. "Every game is a battle. That is why this win is so important for our guys."

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