Feb. 19, 2005
ORLANDO - Sophomore Josh Peppers scored 22 points as the UCF men's basketball team pulled away late in the second half to top visiting Georgia State, 70-65, in an Atlantic Sun contest Saturday evening at UCF Arena. The Golden Knights (18-8, 11-7 A-Sun) have won six of their last seven games.
UCF outrebounded the Panthers (13-13, 10-8) by a 45-26 margin. A pair of Golden Knights - senior Kingsley Edwards and junior Marcus Johnson - both recorded double-doubles with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Georgia State led by one with 5:44 to play, but then the hosts grabbed the momentum. Peppers hit two free throws and then added a layup to put UCF up, 57-54.
Next it was Johnson's turn to handle the offensive duties. He scored on a putback and then nailed a jumper from the baseline and the Golden Knights led by six with three minutes remaining.
Peppers matched a career-high in scoring for the second-consecutive game. He hit three shots from behind-the-arc and was 8-of-15 overall. The double-double for Johnson marked the first of his career.
Playing in front of a vocal crowd of 1,824, the Golden Knights got off to a slow start, missing their first seven field goals. When Peppers found junior Will Bakanowsky for an open layup eight minutes into the game, UCF trailed 11-2.
Bakanowsky's bucket was the start of a 23-5 run for the Golden Knights. Junior Justin Rose recorded six points during the spurt, highlighted by an alley-oop dunk on the break from Edwards.
Senior Gary Johnson's trey with 4:33 left in the opening half handed UCF a 23-16 advantage. Georgia State got a three from Kevin Thomas and a basket by Malcolm Manier in the final minute of the period to tie the contest at 31 at the break.
Rose finished with nine points and eight boards off the bench. For the game, UCF shot 43.9 percent from the floor.
Herman Favors scored on a fastbreak to cut the Golden Knight lead to one with just under a minute left in the game, but the guard missed a long three on the Panthers' next possession and Rose grabbed the board to preserve the game for UCF.
Marcus Brown led Georgia State with 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting. Sylvester Morgan chipped in with 10 points. The Panthers shot 43.1 overall, but made just 7-of-13 (53.8 percent) attempts from the free-throw line.
UCF concludes its 2004-05 home schedule on Monday, Feb. 21, hosting South Dakota State for a non-conference tilt at 7 p.m. Prior to the matchup, the three seniors on the Golden Knights roster - Marcus Avant, Edwards and Gary Johnson will be honored for their career achievements.