UCF Takes Down Penn State, 70-59


Stats | Notes

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - Playing its third game in four days against top competition, UCF knocked off Penn State, 70-59, on Sunday afternoon at the Old Spice Classic at The Milk House. Junior guard Jermaine Taylor (Tavares, Fla./Tavares) led the Knights with a game-high 23 points.

UCF improved to 3-2 on season. The Knights shot a season-best 78.3 percent from the charity stripe (18-of-23). Penn State fell to 2-3 with the loss.

The Knights faced a tough schedule at the tournament, playing No. 19 Villanova (Thursday) and No. 18 Kansas State (Friday) before meeting the Nittany Lions.

"It is a great tournament," said UCF head coach Kirk Speraw of the Old Spice Classic. "This tournament is going to develop into one of the premier tournaments in the country at the holiday season. We are proud that we are a part of it this year. It was a great field."

UCF led for most of the game and had an 11-point advantage early in the second half, but the Nittany Lions would not go away. Penn State got within four points with five minutes to play after a dunk by Geary Claxton, but the Knights responded with an 12-3 run.

Taylor had six points during the run, which he capped with a pair of free throws with a minute to play to give UCF a 64-51 lead.

Senior guard Mike O'Donnell (Largo, Fla./Largo) finished the contest with 16 points, four rebounds and five assists. Junior forward Kenrick Zondervan (Hoofddorp, Holland/Kaj Munk College) finished with eight points and eight boards in the win.

For the game, the Nittany Lions (2-3) shot 36.2 percent (25-of-69) from the field and just 16.1 percent (5-of-31) from beyond the arc.

Penn State led by eight points with 10 minutes to go in the first half, but a dunk from UCF senior center Stanley Billings (Orlando, Fla./Oak Ridge) sparked a 22-6 run to close the period for the Knights. O'Donnell and Taylor each drained a pair of triples during the spurt and UCF led 32-24 at the break.

The Knights shot 50 percent (14-of-28) from the field before the break. Taylor led all scorers in the first half with 10 points, going 4-of-7 from the field, two of shots being 3-point buckets. For the contest, UCF shot 46.9 percent overall.

Claxton totaled 22 points in the losing effort.

The Knights finished with a 44-32 edge on the glass.

UCF returns to the hardwood on Wednesday, hosting Presbyterian at the new UCF Arena. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. The contest will start following the conclusion of the UCF women's basketball game with Bethune-Cookman.

Season tickets for the 2007-08 campaign are still available by calling 407-UCF-1000.

For the latest news and information on the Knights, tickets or apparel, log on to www.ucfathletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. Also, check out www.ucfphotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.