Golden Knights Record C-USA Victory at UTEP


Jan. 27, 2007

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EL PASO, Texas (www.ucfathletics.com) - A 3-pointer from UCF junior guard Mike O'Donnell (Largo, Fla./Largo) with 2:19 to play was the difference as the Golden Knights recorded a 67-64 Conference USA victory over UTEP at the Don Haskins Center on Saturday. The Golden Knights (15-5, 4-2 C-USA) have already eclipsed their win total from a year ago.

UTEP (12-9, 4-3) had a chance to send the game into overtime, but Kevin Henderson's 3-point field-goal attempt rimmed out with four seconds on the clock and junior guard Dave Noel (Boynton Beach, Fla./Boynton Beach) grabbed the rebound.

Noel found O'Donnell in the corner with 2:19 to play and O'Donnell's triple broke a 62-62 tie. The Miners, who lost on their home court for the first time in C-USA play since joining the league prior to last season, could only muster a pair of free throws the rest of the way. Both O'Donnell and sophomore guard Jermaine Taylor (Tavares, Fla./Tavares) made one foul shot down the stretch.

"This was a big bounce-back game for us," said UCF head coach Kirk Speraw. "For our guys to compete the way they competed was huge. We gave a great effort and getting a conference win like this on the road is huge."

Taylor paced UCF with 15 points. Both O'Donnell and senior forward Josh Peppers (Memphis, Tenn./Whitehaven) finished with 13 points.

UCF led by seven with 10:37 to go in the game, but the Miners used an 11-3 run to get back into the contest. The second half featured five ties and five lead changes.

The Golden Knights turned the ball over 11 times in the first half, but just twice after intermission. The teams combined for 23 turnovers in the first half and the game was tied, 29-29, at halftime.

Taylor hit three 3-pointers and had 11 points in the opening period. He led the team with seven rebounds. For the game, UCF shot 33.3 percent overall and 43.5 percent from deep. The Golden Knights recorded a season-high 12 steals.

UTEP entered the contest averaging 78.5 points per game. The Miners shot 45.8 percent overall and committed 20 turnovers. Henderson led the hosts with 19 points and 15 rebounds. Stefon Jackson chipped in with 16 points and seven boards.

After a pair of games on the road, UCF now returns home to host 11th-ranked Memphis on Wednesday, Jan. 31. Tip-off at the UCF Arena is set for 7 p.m. as the game will be televised live regionally on Comcast Sports South.

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