Feb. 5, 2005
TROY, Ala. - Sophomore Josh Peppers (Memphis, Tenn./Whitehaven) scored a career-high 22 points as UCF held on for a 77-73 Atlantic Sun victory over host Troy on Friday evening at Trojan Arena. The Golden Knights claimed their third-straight contest and improve to 15-7 overall and 8-6 in the league while Troy fell to 9-13 and 7-6.
Peppers hit five shots from behind-the-arc and scored 16 of his points in the first half. Senior Gary Johnson (Wayne, Mich./Schoolcraft CC) had a double-double with 13 points and a career-best 10 rebounds.
UCF led by 12 with 8:17 to go in the game after Johnson nailed a trey, but the Trojans rallied, mounting an 11-1 run behind six points from Eddie Baker.
Troy cut the UCF lead to two, 72-70, after a free throw by Jacob Hazouri and then stole the ball in the Golden Knight backcourt. Before Bobby Dixon could dribble upcourt and give the hosts a chance to tie the game or take the lead, senior Kingsley Edwards (Bronx, N.Y./Monroe CC) stole the ball and raced in for an open layup to put UCF up four with 56 seconds to play.
The Golden Knights finished the game with a 48-21 edge on the glass. The rebounding total included 20 on the offensive end.
The Trojans led 7-1 early, but then Peppers caught fire from three-point range, hitting four treys in a five possession span. He scored 13 of UCF's first 15 points and his shot from deep cut the Troy lead to 16-15 with 14:50 to play in the opening half.
UCF would go on to grab the lead and went up three on a basket from junior Anthony Williams (Omaha, Neb./Indian Hills CC). A 15-2 Trojan run and 12 first-half UCF turnovers allowed Troy to reclaim the lead and then pull away midway through the period. A layup by Ryan Heck put the Trojans up 33-21.
Williams finished the game with 16 points and eight rebounds. Edwards led the squad with five assists and added eight points after the bench.
The Trojans held a 44-43 advantage at the break after UCF closed the first half on a 22-11 spurt, which included 11 points at the free-throw line.
The Golden Knights opened the second half with baskets from senior Marcus Avant (Valdosta, Ga./NW Mississippi CC), Johnson and junior Will Bakanowsky (Gibbsboro, N.J./Camden Catholic) to snatch a 49-47 advantage with 17:44 on the clock.
For the game, UCF shot 44.4 percent from the field and hit 10 three-point field goals. Avant totaled 15 points and nine boards.
Dixon scored 16 points to go with seven rebounds and a game-high six assists. Baker also finished with 16 points. Corey Hornsby (12) and Hazouri (10) rounded out the Troy players with double-figures in scoring.
The Trojans hit only 6-of-17 shots from behind-the-arc and shot 42.9 percent overall, but only 34.6 percent in the second half. The team forced 24 Golden Knight turnovers.
UCF, which was playing the first of three consecutive games on the road, returns to the hardwood on Feb. 10, visiting local rival Stetson.