UCF Tops Tennessee Tech, Finishes Third in San Juan


Dec. 21, 2006

Box Score | Notes

GUAYNABO, Puerto Rico (www.ucfathletics.com) - Junior guard Dave Noel (Boynton Beach, Fla./Boynton Beach) scored a career-high 16 points as the UCF men's basketball team claimed third place at the San Juan Shootout on Thursday with a 73-66 victory over Tennessee Tech at Morales Coliseum. The Golden Knights (8-2) won a pair of games in three days to finish third at the eight-team event.

Tennessee Tech (5-6) led 30-29 at halftime, but UCF opened the second half with a 15-6 run to take control of the contest. Senior forward Josh Peppers (Memphis, Tenn./Whitehaven) and junior guard Mike O'Donnell (Largo, Fla./Largo) each had five points during the run. O'Donnell scored 13 of his 15 points after intermission as the Golden Knights shot 64 percent from the floor in the second stanza.

"We got it going at the right time today," said UCF head coach Kirk Speraw. "This was a game that we had to win. It was a gut-check win. We had to fight through our fatigue against a very good Tennessee Tech team and our guys had a great game."

The Golden Eagles had the chance to cut UCF's lead to five with 42 second to play in the contest, but Anthony Fisher's runner in the lane did not count when senior forward Lavell Payne (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Dillard) drew a charge in the paint.

In addition to his career-high scoring total, Noel recorded a team-best four assists. Payne had 12 points, five boards and three assists. In only 14 minutes of action off of the bench, freshman forward Tony Davis (Sarasota, Fla./Riverview) grabbed a team-high seven rebounds.

The Golden Knights shot 51 percent overall for the game and had a 37-28 advantage on the glass. UCF limited Tennessee Tech to just 38.6 percent shooting from the field.

Belton Rivers scored 19 points in the loss. He connected on 5-of-10 shots from 3-point range. The Golden Eagles' Amadi McKenzie totaled 15 points, eight rebounds and four steals.

The Golden Knights will return to action on Dec. 29 when they host New Jersey Tech in the opening round of the UCF Holiday Classic. Tip-off at the UCF Arena is set for 7:30 p.m. James Madison and Texas-Pan Am are also participating in the event.

For the latest news and information on the Golden Knights, tickets or apparel, log on to www.ucfathletics.com - the official site for UCF athletics.