Feb. 21, 2005
ORLANDO - Playing in his final game at UCF Arena, senior Gary Johnson scored a career-high 25 points as the UCF men's basketball team got past visiting South Dakota State, 82-72, in a non-conference matchup Monday evening. The Golden Knights, who have won seven of their last eight games, improve to 19-8 on the season, while SDSU falls to 9-18.
Johnson connected 5-of-8 shots from three-point range, with four of his makes coming before halftime. Sophomore Josh Peppers added 15 points in the win.
UCF grabbed a 10-point lead five minutes into the second half, but was unable to pull away. The Jackrabbits trailed 63-59 with 6:50 to play after Steve Holdren drained one of his three treys, but the Golden Knights answered as Peppers hit a three of his own on UCF's next possession.
Full-court pressure at the five-minute mark helped the hosts pull away. Senior Kingsley Edwards posted back-to-back steals, finishing one with a dunk and finding junior Anthony Williams for an open layup to push the UCF lead to 13.
The Golden Knights swatted a season-best 10 shots, with Williams recording a career-high six. He also scored 10 points and had six rebounds.
Neither team could grab any momentum in the first half. UCF led 18-15 at the 11:52 mark on a shot from behind-the-arc by Johnson. Ben Beran connected on jumpers on consecutive possessions and the Jacks snatched a one point lead, their first of the game, with just over eight minutes remaining in the opening period.
A three by Johnson would give UCF the lead back and another trey from Peppers just before the break put the Golden Knights ahead, 37-30, at intermission.
Edwards finished with 10 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and four steals. Junior Marcus Johnson just missed a double-double with nine points and 10 boards. UCF shot 46.2 percent from the floor and made 11 three-pointers.
Prior to the game, the three seniors on the Golden Knight roster - Marcus Avant
, Edwards and Gary Johnson
- were honored for their career achievements.
Beran paced SDSU, which shot 50.9 percent overall, with 20 points. Steve Holdren had 19 points and seven rebounds and Joe Green registered 18 points. The Jacks were playing their fourth game in five days.
The Golden Knights conclude the regular season later this week with a pair of Atlantic Sun contests on the road. The team plays at Gardner-Webb on Thursday, then visits Campbell on Feb. 26.