Knights Comeback Falls Short in Loss to UAB


Jan. 30, 2008

Final Stats | Notes

ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - The Knights made a valiant comeback late in the second half, but it was not enough as UAB held on for an 88-81 Conference USA victory over the UCF men's basketball team on Wednesday evening at the new UCF Arena. Junior guard Jermaine Taylor (Tavares, Fla./Tavares) paced the Knights (11-9, 4-2 C-USA) with 19 points.

UAB (14-6, 4-1) led by as many as 24 points in the second half, but the hosts rallied, hitting seven 3-pointers after intermission. With the Knights trailing by 21 points with six minutes to play, senior guard Dave Noel (Boynton Beach, Fla./Boynton Beach) sparked a 25-10 UCF run with a layup.

Noel had eight points during the spurt. The UAB advantage was cut to seven with 1:10 following a dunk by sophomore forward Tony Davis (Sarasota, Fla./Riverview). UCF got within six points two possessions later, but was forced to foul and the Blazers hit 7-of-8 free throws in the final minute.

The Blazers shot 60 percent from the field in the first half and 58.5 percent for the game.

"You have to congratulate them (UAB) and the way they played. I was disappointed with our effort and focus in the first part of the game," said UCF head coach Kirk Speraw. "I am very proud of our guys and the effort that they gave in the last 10 minutes of the game."

UCF shot 53.3 percent overall after intermission.

Behind five treys and 15 first-half points from Robert Vaden, UAB led for most of the first period. The Blazers went up 42-28 with 1:11 to go in the opening half after Vaden nailed a trey. UCF senior guard Mike O'Donnell (Largo, Fla./Largo) hit a 3-pointer just before the end of the period to cut the Blazers' edge to 44-31 at the break.

Vaden and Channing Toney hit triples at the start of the second half as UAB began the period with a 13-4 spurt.

Taylor was one of four Knights who finished the contest with double-digits in points. Noel totaled 16 points. O'Donnell hit four treys on his way to 13 points and a game-high four steals. Junior center Kenrick Zondervan (Hoffddorp, Holland) scored 10 points for the Knights and also added a pair of blocked shots.

The contest served as the first of three-straight home games for the Knights.

UAB shot 50 percent from 3-point range for the game. Vaden finished with six triples and 18 points. Lawrence Kinnard led all players with 25 points and seven boards in the victory.

UCF returns to action on Saturday, hosting Houston. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m., following the UCF women's basketball game with East Carolina, which will begin at 5 p.m.

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