Southern Miss Gets Past the Golden Knights


Feb. 8, 2006

Box Score

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Despite a career-high 19 points from sophomore guard Mike O'Donnell, the UCF men's basketball team dropped a 59-51 Conference USA contest at Southern Miss on Wednesday evening at Reed Green Coliseum. The Golden Knights fall to 9-11 overall and 3-4 in league play.

UCF shot 50 percent from the floor in the first half and led 25-21 at the break. Southern Miss (8-15, 2-6) limited the Golden Knights to just 33 percent shooting in the second half as it outscored the visitors, 38-26, during the period.

"Southern Miss did a great job of staying with their offense (in the second half). They knocked a couple of threes that gave them confidence," said UCF head coach Kirk Speraw. "We missed a lot of free throws and that contributed to their run as well."

The Golden Knights appeared to cut the Southern Miss edge to one point with 1:28 to play, but a layup by senior forward Anthony Williams was negated by an offensive foul. Following Williams' charge, Mildon Ambres scored inside to put the game away for the Golden Eagles.

Williams posted a double-double with 14 points and 10 boards in the losing effort.

The squads were meeting for the first time. UCF was playing in Mississippi for the first time since 1992 when it faced New Orleans at the Sun Belt Tournament in Biloxi.

Southern Miss shot just 8-of-25 (32 percent) from the field in the first half, but stayed in the game by forcing eight UCF turnovers. The Golden Knights finished with 16 turnovers, compared to just five for the hosts.

UCF led by as many as seven points in the second half and took a 32-25 advantage five minutes into the period on a three-pointer from senior guard Justin Rose. The Golden Eagles then mounted a 13-4 run, sparked by a pair of Craig Craft triples.

Senior forward Marcus Johnson totaled eight points and five boards off of the bench for UCF. O'Donnell and Williams each scored nine points in the first half. The Golden Knights shot 35.3 percent from three-point range and 57.9 percent from the free-throw line for the game.

Ambres and Travis Hall both led the Golden Eagles with 11 points. Jason Forte recorded nine points and eight rebounds.

The Golden Knights return to action on Saturday, hosting Tulane. Tip-off at Torchy Clark Court at UCF Arena is slated for 7:30 p.m.