Peppers, Rose Shoot UCF Past Rice


Feb. 25, 2006

Box Score

HOUSTON - Senior guard Justin Rose scored a game-high 22 points and junior forward Josh Peppers totaled 21 points as the UCF men's basketball team posted a 77-64 victory over Rice in Conference USA play at Autry Court on Saturday evening. The Golden Knights (12-13, 6-6 C-USA) shot a season-high 56.9 percent from the field for the game.

UCF recorded a season-best 22 assists on 29 made field goals. The squad had a 32-28 edge at halftime over the Owls (11-14, 5-7), but shot 61.5 percent from the floor in the second half to pull away. For the game, the Golden Knights made 12-of-22 (54.5 percent) from behind-the-arc.

"I thought we made some tough shots early, and that gave our guys some confidence to keep shooting throughout the game," said UCF head coach Kirk Speraw. "That was a big part of our success offensively, to be able to shoot a good percentage (from three-point range). Rice battled and fought hard, but we were able to answer."

Peppers sparked a 13-2 run midway through the second half that put the game away for the Golden Knights. He had nine points during the spurt and sophomore guard Mike O'Donnell hit a pair of three-pointers during the run, which Peppers capped with a trey at the 9:13 mark to put UCF up, 55-42.

O'Donnell finished with 13 points and five assists. Rose was 9-of-11 from the floor and hit 4-of-5 three-point attempts. He scored 15 points in the first half and totaled nine points and six assists in the win.

Sixteen of Peppers' points came in the second stanza. He added five boards as the Golden Knights held a 35-25 edge on the glass. Sophomore center Adam Gill (Springboro, Ohio) scored eight points and matched a career-high with six boards.

The Golden Knights and Rice were meeting for the first time since the 1977-78 campaign.

Rose held Morris Almond, who entered the contest averaging a league-high 25.7 points in C-USA play, to just 11 points on 4-of-12 shooting. J.R. Harrison paced Rice with 14 points. Jamaal Moore finished with 13 points in the losing effort.

The Owls shot 39.2 percent for the game.

UCF has two regular season games remaining. The squad returns to the hardwood on Wednesday, facing Marshall in Huntington, W.Va.