Men's Basketball Downs Norfolk State, 63-47


Dec. 16, 2005

Box Score

ORLANDO - Sophomore guard Mike O'Donnell scored a career-high 15 points as the UCF men's basketball team came alive in the second half to top visiting Norfolk State, 63-47, Friday evening at Torchy Clark Court at UCF Arena. The Golden Knights (5-2) shot 59.1 percent in the second half after making just 7-of-22 (31.8 percent) attempts from the floor in the opening period.

UCF forced 21 Norfolk State (2-6) turnovers. The Spartans shot just 38.8 percent overall for the contest and missed all eight of their three-point field-goal attempts.

The win gave UCF head coach Kirk Speraw his 200th-career victory. He joins Torchy Clark as the only coaches in school history to win at least 200 games. Speraw is in his 13th season at UCF and all of his victories at the Division I level have come with the Golden Knights. He spent three seasons as the head coach at Pensacola Junior College in the late 1980s, winning 82 games.

With the game tied at 25 with 16:49 remaining in the second half, UCF used a 15-4 run to pull away for the win. Senior guard Justin Rose, who finished with 12 points, scored eight points during the run and started the spurt with a three-pointer.

Rose had a trio of highlights during the stretch: a lob pass leading to a dunk from junior forward Josh Peppers to put UCF up nine, a long trey and a spinning move in the paint leading to a layup on a fastbreak to hand the hosts a 45-29 edge with 10:24 on the clock.

"I thought our guys came out with a lot of activity," said Speraw. "When we do that, we can be a pretty decent defensive team. Tonight, we were very good defensively."

O'Donnell hit three triples in the win and also added four assists and a pair of steals in a career-high 37 minutes. Rose also played a career-best 37 minutes and finished with six assists, five boards and three steals. Peppers posted 12 points and four rebounds.

Off of the bench, senior forward Marcus Johnson had his first double-digit scoring performance of the season, recording 11 points to go with five rebounds.

UCF has won 10 consecutive games at home.

The Golden Knights led 20-19 at halftime after the first period featured a combined 23 turnovers. UCF led by seven 10 minutes into the contest after a three-pointer by O'Donnell, but the Spartans rallied and took a 19-18 lead with 2:25 remaining in the half following a jumper by Keith Young.

Calvin Brown led Norfolk State with 16 points. He was the only Spartan to finish with double-figures in scoring. UCF limited Tony Murphy, who entered the contest averaging a team-high 16 points a game, to only six points on 3-of-12 shooting from the floor.

The Golden Knights return to action on Monday, participating in the Fiesta Bowl Classic in Tucson, Ariz. UCF will face Western Kentucky at 6 p.m. Eastern at the McKale Center. The contest will be aired live on the UCF ISP Sports Network and its flagship station, 740 - THE TEAM AM.