Taylor Scores 35, UCF Still Falls at Houston

Despite a game-high 35 points from senior guard Jermaine Taylor (Tavares, Fla.), the UCF men's basketball team was not able to top Houston Saturday as the Cougars held on for a 77-72 Conference USA win at Hofheinz Pavilion. The 30-point performance was third-straight for Taylor.

The Cougars (17-8, 8-4 C-USA) led by eight points with four minutes to play, but Taylor scored five points during an 11-4 UCF (16-10, 6-6) run that got the Knights back into the game. His triple at the 1:59 mark cut the Houston edge to 71-70.

Aubrey Coleman, who finished with 28 points, answered on the hosts' next possession, hitting a jumper. UCF then turned the ball over and the Cougars hit five free throws down the stretch to hang on for the victory.

"It was a hard-fought game. Our guys played hard, but there were a couple of possessions where we didn't execute," UCF head coach Kirk Speraw said. "Jermaine was great tonight, but he cannot carry us all the time."

Houston led 39-35 at the break after Coleman hit a desperation 3-pointer as time expired. Freshman guard Isaac Sosa (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) hit some big shots for the Knights early in the second half, including a jumper at the 9:23 mark that gave UCF a 54-53 advantage. The hosts grabbed the lead right back as Kelvin Lewis hit treys on three-consecutive possessions to give the Cougars a six-point advantage.

Sosa shot 4-of-7 from deep and finished with 16 points.

UCF was whistled for 23 fouls during the contest and Houston went 25-of-37 (67.6 percent) at the free-throw line.

Taylor connected on 12-of-26 attempts from the field. Sophomore forward A.J. Tyler (Palm Harbor, Fla.) led the Knights with 11 rebounds. UCF shot 42.6 percent overall and 29.2 percent from 3-point range. Taylor was 8-of-9 at the charity stripe as the team made 13-of-16 (81.3 percent) attempts at the line.

Coleman played all 40 minutes for the Cougars and shot 10-of-16 from the floor. Lewis added 22 points in the win. Houston shot 37.7 percent overall.

The Knights have four regular-season contests remaining. UCF will return to action Wednesday, hosting Rice at 7 p.m. at the UCF Arena.


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