Taylor Lifts UCF Past Host Rice


Feb. 16, 2008

Box Score | Notes

HOUSTON (www.ucfathletics.com) - Junior guard Jermaine Taylor (Tavares, Fla./Tavares) totaled a game-high 22 points to lift the UCF men's basketball team to a 60-53 Conference USA win over Rice at Reliant Arena on Saturday afternoon. The Knights (13-11, 6-4 C-USA) shot 51.6 percent from the floor for the game.

UCF led by as many as 12 points in the second half. The Owls (3-21, 0-11) would not go away, cutting the Knights' edge to 55-51 with under two minutes to play.

Taylor and UCF responded. He hit a pair of free throws at the 1:30 mark to push the edge to seven and after junior Kenrick Zondervan (Hoffddorp, Holland) picked up a steal and found Taylor on the break for a slam dunk, UCF led 60-51 with 40 seconds to go.

"I knew this (game) wouldn't be easy. I was thoroughly impressed with Rice and how hard they played," said UCF head coach Kirk Speraw. "We overcame foul trouble and some personnel issues. We found a way (to win). Jermaine played well and made some big shots when it mattered. That is what we need him to do."

For the sixth-straight game, UCF starting senior center Stanley Billings (Orlando, Fla./Oak Ridge) did not play due to injury.

UCF limited the Owls to just 34.6 percent shooting from the floor.

The Knights used a 15-2 run midway through the first half to seemingly pull away from Rice. With UCF trailing by a point, senior guard Chip Cartwright (Houston, Texas/Phillis Wheatley) sparked the spurt with a layup at the 10:28 mark. Six different UCF players scored during the run, which Taylor capped with 4:54 to go in the half with a foul shot that handed the Knights a 24-12 edge.

A jumper from Taylor with under a minute to go in the period gave UCF a 31-20 lead at halftime. Taylor scored 11 points before intermission. Rice shot just 31.6 percent overall in the opening half.

The Knights were playing for the first time in a week.

Taylor shot 7-of-11 from the floor and also recorded three assists and a steal in 36 minutes. Senior guard Dave Noel (Boynton Beach, Fla./Boynton Beach) scored 13 points in the win and added a team-high eight boards and seven assists.

Patrick Britton paced the Owls with 12 points. Suleiman Braimoh had a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds.

After two-consecutive road contests, the Knights return to Orlando for a home game with East Carolina on Wednesday. Tip-off at the new UCF Arena is set for 7 p.m.

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 UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.