The Oberserver

Jump to content

This Week

Knights prevail

Isaac Babcock

Share »

A wild finish to the basketball season ended with a thud for the UCF Knights, as they were knocked out by UTEP in the Conference USA Tournament's second round.

But that's not before they stunned SMU in a 69-53 revenge win March 10.

In the two teams' only other meeting this season the Mustangs trampled the Knights 65-43 on Feb. 7 in Dallas. In that game the Knights only had one player shooting in double digits as they suffered from a dismal 36.2 shooting percentage.

A dramatically different Knights team walked onto the floor of Tulsa's BOK Center as they met the Mustangs last week. They held steady on strong shooting early on, edging the Mustangs at the half.

photo

After winning its second C-USA tournament game ever, UCF's mens team loses to top-ranked Miners

When they came back from the break, the Knights caught fire, launching into a scoring tirade that would outpace the Mustangs 37-23 in the second half of the game.

Under the basket, the Knights dominated, picking up 27 rebounds and outscoring the Mustangs 2-1 in the paint.

Aggressive play in close quarters gave the Knights a scoring edge that kept increasing, with Taylor Young again leading his team with 15 points, Isaac Sosa just behind with 14, and A.J. Tyler rounding out players in double digits with 12.

Against the UTEP Miners on March 11, the Knights were a different team on the floor, struggling to keep pace as they were embarrassingly outmatched in the first half, falling behind 48-20 by halftime.

"We just didn't handle their press very well at all," UCF Coach Kirk Speraw said after the game.

The Miners' defense worked feverishly to force turnovers and bad shots for the Knights, and the tactic worked. The Knights shot a combined 34.7 percent in the game, using nearly their entire bench.

Keith Clanton led his team with 12 points despite shooting just 33.3 percent from the floor.

In the end the Knights would fall 76-54 as the Miners cruised to victory. That euphoria wouldn't last long for UTEP, who fell to Houston in a championship shocker.

For the young Knights, the next season awaits with a promise of more experience after the Knights made it to the second round of the C-USA tournament for only the second time in team history.