Feb. 17, 2005
ORLANDO - Sophomore Josh Peppers scored 22 points and junior Justin Rose added a career-high 15 points off the bench as the UCF men's basketball team rolled to a 79-65 victory over visiting Mercer in Atlantic Sun play Thursday evening at UCF Arena. The Golden Knights improve to 17-8 overall and 10-7 in the conference while Mercer drops to 13-11 and 8-9.
UCF shot 60 percent from the field in the first half and limited the Bears to only six baskets in the opening period. The hosts led, 36-17, at halftime.
After trailing by as many as 21, Mercer narrowed the deficit to 59-52 with 6:43 to go in the second half when James Odoms nailed a three-pointer. UCF answered right back, getting a trey from senior Gary Johnson and a Peppers' layup to build a 12-point lead and put the game out of reach.
Johnson finished with 14 points and a game-high nine assists and four steals. Fellow senior Kingsley Edwards just missed an unconventional double-double with nine rebounds, eight assists and seven points. Overall, Peppers shot 8-of-12 and matched a career-best with six assists.
The Golden Knights started the game strong, taking a 21-6 advantage on a bucket from freshman Adam Gill with 9:45 on the clock. In the game's first 10 minutes, Peppers hit two shots from behind-the-arc and registered 10 points.
After back-to-back open court dunks by Edwards and Rose, UCF claimed a 33-12 edge. The Bears made only 6-of-20 field goal attempts in the first half, compared to the Golden Knights who hit 15-of-25 shots, including five from three-point range.
For the game, UCF shot 56.3 percent from the floor and held a 33-27 edge on the boards. In 19 minutes on the floor, Rose connected on 5-of-6 shots from the field and added five rebounds. Junior Troy Lindbeck nailed two threes off the bench and recorded seven points.
Will Emerson was one of two Mercer players to record double-figures in scoring. He led the team with 16 points. Odoms chipped in with 12. Damitrius Coleman, who entered the game leading the nation with 8.3 assists per game, totaled four assists and five turnovers.
UCF, which has won five of its last six games, continues its three-game homestand on Saturday, hosting Georgia State at 7 p.m.