Golden Knight Rally Falls Short at FAU


Dec. 13, 2005

Box Score

BOCA RATON - Junior forward Josh Peppers scored a career-high 24 points, including 17 in the second half, but it was not enough as host Florida Atlantic held on for a 59-54 victory over the UCF men's basketball team on Tuesday evening at FAU Arena. The Golden Knights (4-2) had an opportunity to tie the game at 57 with 12 seconds remaining in the contest, but sophomore guard Mike O'Donnell missed a three-point attempt.

After a defensive rebound, Quinton Young made a pair of free throws for the Owls, who improve to 3-2.

UCF struggled on the offensive end throughout the game, committing a season-high 21 turnovers. The Golden Knights shot just 6-of-21 (28.6 percent) from three-point range and made only 4-of-8 attempts from the free-throw line.

"We were very tentative and not very intense," said UCF head coach Kirk Speraw. "We did not do a good job of getting the ball into the post and became a very perimeter-oriented team. It was just a lack of execution."

The Golden Knights trailed from the opening tip and got within one on two occasions with under two minutes to play in the contest. Each time, Florida Atlantic would answer.

Senior forward Anthony Williams hit a jumper for his lone basket of the game at the 1:43 mark to cut the Owl edge to 53-52. Derrick Simmons responded for the hosts, hitting a wide-open jumper. After a Peppers layup with 43 seconds on the clock, DeAndre Rice drove and then pulled up for another jumper to hand Florida Atlantic a three-point lead.

Peppers finished with four treys and grabbed a team-high nine rebounds in the losing effort. He added two assists, a pair of blocks and two steals. Senior guard Justin Rose recorded 13 points and was the only other Golden Knight to finish with double-digits in scoring.

The former Atlantic Sun Conference rivals were meeting in a non-league game for the first time since Jan. 19, 1994.

UCF had its worst offensive performance of the year in the first half, mustering a season-low 17 points in the opening stanza. The Golden Knights turned the ball over 13 times before intermission and made just 1-of-10 shots from three-point range. Behind nine first-half points from Brent Crews, the Owls led, 27-17, at the break.

The Owls shot 46.2 percent from the field for the game. Rodney Webb registered a double-double with 11 points and 10 boards. Crews scored 13 points and Simmons chipped in with 11 points.

After two-consecutive games away from home, UCF returns to Orlando to host Norfolk State on Friday. Tip-off at Torchy Clark Court at UCF Arena is set for 7:30 p.m. The contest will be aired live on the UCF ISP Sports Network and its flagship station, 740-THE TEAM AM.