Rondo’s last-second shot carries Kentucky past UCF
=== Rondo’s last-second shot carries Kentucky past UCF ===
Lexington, KY (Sports Network) – Rajon Rondo buried a jump shot just inside
the free throw line with 1.5 seconds left, as 19th-ranked Kentucky escaped
with a 59-57 win over Central Florida at Rupp Arena.
Rondo had 13 points, six assists and four steals for the Wildcats (10-3), who
won for the fourth consecutive time. Ramel Bradley had a game-high 16 points
for Kentucky, while Bobby Perry had nine.
Josh Peppers led the Golden Knights (6-6), who lost their second straight,
with 15 points. Justin Rose chipped in 12 points and a game-high 10 rebounds,
while Anthony Williams had nine points and eight boards.
Mike O’Donnell drained a three-pointer with just 26 seconds left to tie things
at 57 for UCF, before Rondo drilled his winning jumper.
The Golden Knights missed a desperation half-court attempt at the buzzer.
Things started slowly for the Wildcats. UCF came out of the locker room on
fire stunning Kentucky with a 7-0 spurt in the first minute of the game. The
Wildcats didn’t score until a Shagari Alleyne free throw with 15:14 left in
Peppers’ three midway through the first stanza swelled the Golden Knights’
lead to 11 at 18-7 but Kentucky finally awakened.
The Wildcats finished the half on a 26-8 run to take control at 33-26 heading
into intermission. Bradley paced Kentucky with 14 on 4-of-5 shooting while
Peppers had 10 for UCF.
Kentucky came out flat again in the second half. The Wildcats had trouble
scoring, but their defense was stout and the Golden Knights could make little
headway. The score stood at 49-41 after a pair of Jared Carter free throws
with 8:29 remaining.
UCF then made things interesting. A 9-0 burst capped by a Rose jumper gave the
Knights a one-point advantage, 50-49, with 6:56 left in the game.
A Rondo layup got Kentucky back on track and the ‘Cats regained the lead with
a 6-2 surge over the next four minutes.
UCF would not go quietly however. Rose’s bucket with 1:18 left cut Kentucky’s
advantage to one at 55-54.
Joe Crawford answered with a pair from the charity stripe to make it 57-54
with 51 ticks left.
Kentucky has held 77 of its last 79 opponents below 50 percent shooting. UCF
shot 44 percent for the game…UCF dominated the boards with a 36-27
edge…The Golden Knights shot 8-of-20 from beyond the arc, while Kentucky was
just 5-of-17…The Kentucky bench outscored the UCF bench 35-13.