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by: Kris Gardner, United States Basketball Writers Association member. Credentialed media member since 1997. USBWA approved online journalist. Voter of Katrina McClain, Naismith, USBWA, and Wooden awards.

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UCF defeats Coogs 64-59

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Posted: February 24, 2018 -- 4:42 pm CST.

HOUSTON, TX (H&PE Arena) -- The Houston Cougars have won 9 games this season after trailing by at least 8 points. Saturday afternoon, the Coogs tried to make it 10 come-from-behind victories; however, the UCF Knights did not allow Houston to complete the comeback and defeated the Coogs 64-59. With the win, the Knights clinched the 3rd-seed in next week's American Athletic Conference Tournament.

Final stats: UCF 64, UH 59.

Houston's loss gives the Coogs a 9-6 record in the AAC and one-half game behind the Cincinnati Bearcats (9-5). The Bearcats play USF later today. Houston and Cincinnati face each other Monday, February 26, at 6 p.m.

Houston struggled to make baskets in the first half while the Knights hardly missed.

The Coogs shot 29.2% (7 for 24) in the opening half. The Knights shot 51.7% (15 for 29).

Houston trailed 32-19 at halftime.

"We just didn't come out and play like we needed to start the game," said Houston Head Coach Ronald Hughey after the game. "Very (frustrating). Very disappointed."

After missing 9 of 10 three-point shots in the first half, Houston sank 4 of 8 (50.0%) in the third quarter and outscored the Knights 24-17 in the period to slice into the deficit and trail UCF 49-43 after three quarters.

Houston trailed 51-43 in the fourth quarter before Houston sophomore guard Jasmyne Harris scored back-to-back layups followed by a layup from Houston junior Serithia Hawkins during a 6-2 burst to trim Houston's deficit to four points (53-49).

Angela Harris swished a three-point shot to trim the deficit to 53-52. Next, Jasmyne Harris stole the ball and raced down the floor; scored a layup; and was fouled. Harris made the free throw to tie the game at 55 with 5:04 remaining.

Angela Harris split two free throws for a 56-55 Coogs' lead; but, the Knights' scored four straight points and led 59-56 with 3:59 remaining.

With 1:09 remaining in the game, Houston trailed 59-58. Houston appeared to force a shot clock violation as UCF's Kornelia Wright launched a 3 point heave. Wright made the shot; however, the referees decided to check the tv monitor to confirm the call.

Call confirmed. Basket good. UCF led Houston 62-58.

The Coogs did not score a single point in the 2:39 of the game.

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