LAST TIME OUT Despite a game-high 17 points from Josh Peppers, UCF lost to visiting Birmingham-Southern, 58- 50, in the title game of the UCF Holiday Classic on Friday. The Golden Knights shot just 35.6 percent from the floor and trailed 24-20 at halftime. UCF held a 36-26 edge on the glass, but made just 5-of-22 (22.7 percent) attempts from deep.
The Wildcats have won three-consecutive games, including a 71-63 victory over Ohio in Cincinnati on Friday. Joe Crawford paced the Wildcats with 23 points. This season, Kentucky is 5-1 at home. Two of Kentucky's three losses this year have been against ranked opponents and the other defeat was to defending national champion North Carolina. The Wildcats are averaging 71.6 points per game and are shooting 44.7 percent overall. Rajon Rondo is averaging a team-high 15.3 points and 8.5 rebounds. His 5.2 assists per contest rank fifth in the Southeastern Conference.
SERIES HISTORY UCF
and Kentucky have never met on the hardwood. All-time, UCF is 0-23 versus Southeastern Conference foes. On Dec. 3, the Golden Knights dropped an 80-47 contest at No. 11 Florida.
UCF PROBABLE STARTERS
Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Cl. PPG RPG G 4 Mike O'Donnell 6-0 185 So. 7.9 2.6 G 21 Justin Rose 6-3 190 Sr. 11.8 5.4 F 30 Josh Peppers 6-6 200 Jr. 13.7 4.3 F 33 Anthony Williams 6-9 220 Sr. 7.0 4.0 C 25 Adam Gill 6-9 225 So. 3.6 1.5
OFF THE BENCH
G 1 Jermaine Taylor 6-4 195 Fr. 3.3 2.3 G 3 Dave Noel 6-3 205 So. 2.0 3.1 G 10 Drew Speraw 6-2 165 Fr. 0.0 0.1 G 20 Troy Lindbeck 6-3 185 Sr. 5.4 1.1 F/C 2 Lavell Payne 6-8 210 Jr. 6.0 3.0 F 13 Kenrick Zondervan 6-9 215 Fr. 0.4 0.3
TV: Fox Sports South/ESPN Full Court. Rob Bromley will handle the play-by-play and Martin Newton will provide the color commentary. Records: UCF fell to 6-5 with a 58-50 loss in the UCF Holiday Classic final on Friday. The Wildcats improved to 9-3 on the year with a 71-63 victory over Ohio in Cincinnati on Friday. Coaches: UCF head coach Kirk Speraw (Iowa, 1980) is 201-168 (.545) in his 13th season overall and at UCF.
Tubby Smith (High Point, 1973) is in his 14th year overall and has a 352-123 (.741) career mark. In his ninth season at Kentucky, he is 228-61 (.789) with the Wildcats. Series: The Golden Knights and Kentucky will be meeting for the first time on the hardwood.
UCF has not played a regular-season contest in the Bluegrass State since Dec. 3, 1994 when it faced Eastern Kentucky in Richmond. UCF (6-5) at Kentucky (9-3) Lexington, Ky. Jan. 3, 2006 • 7 p.m. Senior guard Justin Rose is doing it all for UCF this season. In his second campaign at UCF, he is starting for the first time and is showing off all facets of his game. The shooting guard is first on the team in rebounds (5.8) and three-point field-goal percentage (47.2). He is second on the squad with an 11.8 points and a 3.7 assists per game average.
Dating back to the start of the 2001-02 season, the Golden Knights are 49-11 in games played at UCF Arena. In 2004-05, the team went 12-3 at home, the second-best home win total in program history (14 in 1993-94). This season, the squad is 6-1 in Orlando.
LEAVING THE SUNSHINE
When it faces Kentucky, UCF will be playing outside of the state of Florida for only the second time this season. When the team participated in the Fiesta Bowl Classic from Dec. 19-21 in Tucson, Ariz., it marked the Golden Knights' first games outside the state of Florida in 2005-06. UCF opened the season with seven-consecutive contests in the Sunshine State.