UCF Basketball Recap: Golden Knights edge Owls, 72-67, in Orlando
CUSA Fans new UCF Correspondent David Gomez brings the latest update on the UCF Golden Knights basketball team.
Saturday, January 20, 2007
With the third largest crowd in UCF arena history, the air was filled with excitement and hope, as UCF was ready to tip off against conference foe Rice. The crowd was pumped up and ready to see the Golden Knights, who came in at 12-4 overall and 2-1 in the league, continue their strong play.
The first half of the game belonged mainly to Rice as they had the lead for most of the first half.
With 2:19 remaining Jermaine Taylor's dunk sent the crowd into a frenzy and gave the Golden Knights the 33-31 lead. From that point on, the Knights never looked back as they went into the half with a 35-32 advantage.
The Owls only shot 31% from the floor in the first half, but outrebounded the Knights 31-22 while dominating the offensive glass. It seemed as if the Knights could not get a rebound, but they found a way to stay close on the scoreboard.
With the crowd pumped and ready to finish the Owls off, the Knights came roaring into the second half and at one point led by as many as 12.
After some costly turnovers, Rice came back and made it a 68-67 when its star Morris Almond knocked down a pair of free throws with 53 seconds left.
With every single person in the arena on his or her feet, Lavell Payne slammed one down with 22 seconds remaining to give the Knights the 3-point lead.
On the next possession, Almond shot two consecutive three pointers in an effort to try to tie the game, but Dave Noel quickly came down with the ball and was immediately fouled. With the pressure on Noel, he hit both free throws to seal the victory for the Golden Knights.
With the win, which was their 12th straight at home, UCF improved to 13-4 overall and 3-1 in CUSA.
Josh Peppers led the Knights with 14 points and Mike O'Donnell added 11. Noel finished with 10 points and 8 assists.
Next up for the Knights will be two tough road contests. They will first travel to Houston on Wednesday the 24th to take on Tom Penders' Cougars. On Saturday, the 27th, they will be at the Don Haskins Center in El Paso to try their hand against the UTEP Miners.
UCF returns home on Wednesday, January 31st, when John Calipari's mighty Memphis Tigers roll into town for what will likely be a standing room only crowd at UCF Arena in Orlando.