UCF's Upset Bid Falls Short at No. 19 Kentucky


Jan. 3, 2006

Box Score

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Rajon Rondo hit a runner in the lane with 1.5 seconds remaining in the game to lift 19th-ranked Kentucky to a 59-57 victory over UCF at Rupp Arena on Tuesday evening. Junior forward Josh Peppers scored 15 points for the Golden Knights (6-6) and senior guard Justin Rose posted a double-double with 12 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.

UCF tied the game with 26 seconds to play when sophomore guard Mike O'Donnell drained a three-pointer, but Rondo responded for the Wildcats (10-3), hitting the game-winning basket.

"Our guys played with heart and intensity all night and I am proud of them for that," said UCF head coach Kirk Speraw. "At the end the game, a great player (Rondo) made a great play."

Kentucky led by 11 with 13:33 to play in the contest after a layup by Ramel Bradley, but the Golden Knights rallied with a 15-4 run. Senior guard Troy Lindbeck got UCF within six, draining the first of his two treys during the spurt. On the Golden Knights' next possession, senior forward Anthony Williams passed to a cutting Rose who slammed home a dunk.

Rose had six points during the run and handed the visitors a 50-49 edge with a jumper with seven minutes to play.

The Golden Knights shot 50 percent from the field in the second half and 44 percent for the game. UCF finished with a 36-27 edge on the glass.

The Wildcats missed their first six field goals of the game as UCF raced out to a 12-3 lead. UCF claimed a nine-point advantage with 13:38 on the clock when freshman Jermaine Taylor hit a three-pointer from the corner.

Bradley helped Kentucky get back into the game, hitting three first-half triples. He had nine points during a 19-10 Wildcat run midway through the half. Rondo's layup at the 3:26 mark handed the hosts their first lead of the contest, 26-24. Kentucky led by nine at halftime.

The game was played in front of 21,329 fans - the second-largest crowd to witness a UCF basketball game.

The two schools were meeting for the first time on the hardwood, but UCF was making its second appearance at Rupp Arena. In Speraw's first season at UCF, the Golden Knights played Purdue in the first round of the 1994 NCAA Tournament in Lexington with 21,568 fans on hand.

Williams scored nine points and tied a season-high with eight rebounds. He matched a career-high with four assists. O'Donnell committed just one turnover and totaled seven assists and six points. In 17 minutes off of the bench, sophomore center Adam Gill contributed with four points and five boards.

From the floor, Kentucky shot 40.7 percent for the game, but made just 5-of-17 (29.4 percent) from deep. Bradley scored a game-high 16 points. Rondo recorded 13 points, six assists, four rebounds and four steals.

The contest marked UCF's final road non-league game of the season.

The Golden Knights return to action on Jan. 11, playing their inaugural Conference USA game against Marshall at home. Tip-off at Torchy Clark Court at UCF Arena is slated for 7:30 p.m.