UCF Falls in Tournament Title Game


Dec. 30, 2005

Box Score

ORLANDO - Junior forward Josh Peppers scored a game-high 17 points, but it was not enough for UCF as the Golden Knights fell to visiting Birmingham-Southern, 58-50, on Friday evening in the championship game of the UCF Holiday Classic. The loss snapped an 11-game home winning streak for the Golden Knights (6-5) at Torchy Clark Court at UCF Arena.

UCF shot 35.6 percent from the floor for the game and made just 5-of-22 attempts (22.7 percent) from three-point range.

The hosts trailed for most of the game, but tied the contest at 35 with 9:27 to play after a triple from sophomore guard Mike O'Donnell. The Panthers (7-3) then used a 16-7 run to pull away. Sredrick Powe had six points during the spurt and capped the run with a layup to put Birmingham-Southern ahead, 51-42, with three minutes to play.

"It was a hard-fought basketball game," said UCF head coach Kirk Speraw. "Our guys fought hard, but some of our shots did not fall."

Powe finished with 16 points in the win and Thomas Viglianco, the tournament MVP, posted 14 points and nine rebounds.

The first-half did not feature much offense as both teams shot just 33.3 percent from the floor. After a pair of free throws from Peppers with 3:07 on the clock to put UCF up two, the hosts did not score for the rest of the half. With less than three minutes to go in the half, the Panthers got baskets inside from James Collins, Powe and LeCory Ruffin to take a 24-20 lead into intermission.

Peppers was the lone Golden Knight to finish with double-digits in scoring. Off of the bench, junior forward Lavell Payne totaled nine points and six rebounds. UCF tied a season-low with only 10 turnovers and held a 36-26 advantage on the glass.

Birmingham-Southern shot 41.9 percent overall and had just five turnovers. In addition to Viglianco, Powe earned a spot on the all-tournament team.

Peppers and senior guard Justin Rose represented the hosts on the all-tournament squad and were joined by Fred Oguns of Western Illinois and Alain LaRoche of North Florida. In the tournament consolation game on Friday, Western Illinois posted a 58-52 victory over North Florida.

UCF will play its final non-conference road game of the season on Jan. 3, heading to Lexington, Ky. to face 19th-ranked Kentucky at Rupp Arena. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m.