UAB Holds Off Houston, 82-79

Jan. 21, 2006

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - Freshman forward Lawrence Kinnard hit three clutch baskets near the end of the game to lead UAB to a 82-79 victory over Houston Saturday night. The win was UAB's 10th straight, which trails only West Virginia's 12 in a row for the longest current win streak in the nation.

Kinnard's biggest basket came on UAB's final possession, with the Blazers leading 80-79 and the shot clock winding down. The Memphis, Tenn., native banked in a 10 foot jumper with 6.3 seconds left.

The basket gave UAB a three-point lead and Houston called a quick time out. Guard Chris Lawson drove down the floor and launched a 3-point try under tight defense, but the shot missed. Houston rebounded with one second left, but could not get off another shot before the final horn sounded.

Wen Mukubu scored 16 points to lead UAB (14-3, 4-0 Conference USA). Kinnard had a career high 13-points and a team-high seven rebounds. Marvett McDonald added 13 points and Paul Delaney had 11. The Blazers are off to their best start since going 16-2 to begin the 1993-94 season.

Lanny Smith scored 20 points to lead Houston (10-6, 1-3). Oliver Lafayette added 15 points, Brian Latham had 11 and Ramon Dyer had 10 for the Cougars.

Houston Coach Tom Penders collapsed on the sideline late in the first half, but returned to coach the second half. Penders fell to his knees as UAB's Mukubu drove to the basket and drew a foul with 52 seconds left in the half and UAB leading 46-44.

The officials called a technical foul on Penders, apparently thinking he was reacting to the foul call. But the game stopped and the crowd hushed when Penders did not get up.

Doctors rushed to Penders side, rolling him onto his back and giving him oxygen before he was taken off the floor on a stretcher. Penders later attributed the incident to a heart condition and said he felt fine after taking the oxygen.



Carldell "Squeaky" Johnson hit two free throws on the technical foul and Mukubu hit one of two free throws on the personal foul to give UAB a 49-44 lead. A basket by Lawson pulled Houston to within 49-46 at halftime.

UAB's biggest lead was 13 points and it came when Brandon Tobias hit two free throws with 8:12 to play. But Houston chipped away at the lead and pulled to within 80-79 on Smith's driving basket with 42 seconds left.

The victory gives UAB a share of the C-USA lead with a 4-0 league mark. UTEP also won Saturday giving the Miners a 4-0 start to conference pllay.

The Blazers win also sets up a montumental showdown at Memphis on Thursday. The fourth-ranked Tigers are 3-0 in league play and were picked to win the league in the preseason poll of Conference USA coaches. UAB was picked second.

Thursday's contest at the FedExForum tips off at 7 p.m. CT. It will be televised live by CSTV and carred on the Blazer Sports Network found locally on 101.1 FM, WYDE in Birmingham.