UCF Men's Basketball Falls at Tulane


Feb. 14, 2007

Box Score | Notes

NEW ORLEANS (www.ucfathletics.com) - A game-high 23 points from UCF senior forward Lavell Payne (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Dillard) was not enough as Tulane used a near-perfect performance in the second half to rally for an 86-80 Conference USA victory over the Golden Knights on Wednesday evening at Fogelman Arena. UCF (18-7, 7-4 C-USA) led by eight points at halftime, but the Green Wave outscored the visitors, 54-40, after intermission.

Tulane (12-11, 5-6) shot 69 percent in the second half, making 20-of-29 shots. UCF led 45-36 with 18:28 to go in the contest after a layup by junior guard Dave Noel (Boynton Beach, Fla./Boynton Beach), but the hosts then went on a 20-8 run. David Gomez scored seven points during the spurt and Kevin Sims capped the run with a trey at the 8:37 mark, giving Tulane a 56-53 edge.

The Golden Knights grabbed a one-point lead a minute later after senior forward Josh Peppers (Memphis, Tenn./Whitehaven) scored inside, but the Green Wave then pulled away after Daniel Puckett and Chris Moore each hit 3-pointers.

"We didn't have the intensity on defense that we usually have," said UCF head coach Kirk Speraw. "That showed in the second half. We have to get back to playing great defense if we are going to be successful."

UCF led 40-32 at the break after Peppers scored two of his 21 points with a layup with two seconds to go in the period.

The Golden Knights were playing Tulane in New Orleans for the first time since UCF joined C-USA prior to last season.

The Green Wave shot 55.6 percent overall and 50 percent from deep for the game. They forced 17 UCF turnovers.

Noel totaled 15 points, with 12 coming after halftime. He also added six rebounds. In 34 minutes of action, junior guard Mike O'Donnell (Largo, Fla./Largo) recorded a game-high eight assists.

Moore went 8-of-10 from the field and led the Green Wave with 22 points. Gomez scored all but two of his 15 points in the second half and Puckett and Sims both finished with 11 points in the win. Tulane totaled 22 assists on 30 field goals.

UCF concludes its two-game road swing on Saturday, facing Rice in Houston. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. Eastern.

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