Aikens Spurs Herd To 73-69 Win At UCF

ORLANDO - A game-high 21 points from senior guard Justin Rose was not enough as UCF dropped its inaugural Conference USA contest on Wednesday evening, falling 73-69 to Marshall at Torchy Clark Court at UCF Arena. Marshall is 7-6 overall and 1-0 in CUSA with the win. The Golden Knights drop to 6-7 overall and 0-1 in league play.

Marshall shot 50 percent from the floor in the second half, compared to only 38.2 percent for the hosts. UCF led by five with 8:30 remaining in the game, but the Thundering Herd used a 15-3 run to grab the lead. Joe Miles sparked the run with a three-pointer and when Mark Patton canned a pair of free throws at the 3:33 mark, Marshall led, 67-60.

Despite a growing rivalry on the football field, the squads were meeting for the first time on the hardwood.

UCF got within three points with 2:37 to play after Rose found sophomore center Adam Gill for a dunk. The hosts then went cold offensively, missing three shots and committing two turnovers in the next two minutes.

"We did some things well in spurts during the ball game," said UCF head coach Kirk Speraw. "Marshall did a great job of scrapping and made some big plays when they needed to and we didn't make plays when we needed to."

Rose matched career-highs with seven assists and three steals in the losing effort. Junior forward Josh Peppers posted 16 points and senior forward Anthony Williams 15 points and grabbed a team-high eight boards.

UCF was 6-of-12 at the line, compared to Marshall, who made 29 trips to the charity stripe, making 19.

In front of 2,871 spectators, the Golden Knights shot 53.6 percent in the first half. Peppers scored 13 in the opening stanza and Rose recorded 12 first-half points. UCF led 36-32 at intermission after Peppers nailed a triple from the top of the key with one second to play.

The contest marked the first C-USA game in both school's histories. UCF is in its first season in the league after moving from the Atlantic Sun. Marshall competed in the Mid-American before moving to C-USA this year.

Reserve Travis Aikens paced the Thundering Herd with 17 points and nine rebounds. Patton had 14 points and Miles chipped in with 13 points off of the bench. Marshall had a 35-32 edge on the glass and shot 47.9 percent from the field and 47.1 percent from three-point range in the win.


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