After winning five straight in Sunshine State Conference play, the Tars suffered a disastrous pair of losses over the past week.
A 97-78 loss to Embry-Riddle Feb. 1 was a runaway from the start, with standout Sam Philpott struggling to bolster the team’s scoring to keep pace with a relentless Eagles offense. Three days later, it was more of the same as the Tars let Eckerd run away with a 93-71 blowout in St. Petersburg. At one point with just 3 minutes left in the game the Tars were behind by as many as 31 points in a game that had been out of hand since halfway through the first period.
Shooting just 37.3 percent in that second game, no Tar managed to pick up more than Jakobi Bonner’s 14 points, while Eckerd’s Matt Beneduci went wild, unleashing a 31-point scoring barrage and shooting 60 percent in the process.
The Tars (13-10, 7-6) will hit the road for the weekend, tipping off at Lynn (10-10, 5-7) at 4 p.m. Saturday, but they’ll be back at 7:30 p.m. next Wednesday to host Sunshine State Conference leaders Barry (19-2, 12-2).
Rollins women’s basketball
The lady Tars extended their conference-leading winning streak to seven games with a 69-54 smashing of Eckerd on Saturday. That win came with the help of Marie Gilbert’s 15 points, while Carly McLendon scored 14 points and grabbed 12 boards in the process.
The Tars have spread the scoring duties around in that long streak that extends back to Jan. 14, with four different players leading in scoring during that span.
On the horizon for the Tars, they’ll head to Boca Raton to face Lynn at 2 p.m. Saturday before turning about to head back into port to face Barry (5-17, 3-11) at 5:30 p.m. next Wednesday.
UCF men’s basketball
The Knights spent Saturday night making it a lonely one for Dedric Lawson. The Memphis Tigers’ star spent all 40 minutes on the court carrying his team on his own with 28 points, and they still lost 72-57.
For the Knights, who featured four players scoring in double digits, it was a victory for teamwork against a Tigers team whose second-best shooter managed only 8 points.
The Knights shot 53.5 percent on the night after ripping open a 14-0 lead before Memphis sank its first basket. The sinusoidal scoring gap to follow for the remaining 35 minutes of play would fall below double digits for only 30 seconds combined. By the end, with A.J. Davis sinking two final silent free-throws, the game was long since over, the Tigers having never come close to holding the lead.
Matt Williams was back at the top of his game with a 20-point performance to lead the Knights, snagging seven boards in the process. B.J. Taylor was close behind with 16 points.
That dominating blowout at home was a refreshing one for the Knights, who had struggled through four-straight conference losses since Jan. 22, when they lost to that same Memphis team on the road.
That turnaround came just in time for the Knights to face a rising force in No. 11 Cincinnati, which has continuously climbed the national rankings all season. On Jan. 29 the Bearcats blasted USF 94-53. They haven’t lost a game since Dec. 10. That game tipped off at press time Wednesday night.
Coming up for the Knights (15-8, 6-5) is a bit of a breather as they host UConn at 6 p.m. Saturday. The Huskies (10-12, 5-5) have struggled in American Athletic Conference play and overall. After that, the Knights face another team that has already beaten them this season, hosting Tulsa (12-10, 6-4) at 7 p.m. next Tuesday.
UCF women’s basketball
The lady Knights followed at 64-44 blasting of Cincinnati in late January with a pair of single-digit losses to send their AAC record spiraling again.
That most recent loss came from a 22-3 scoring run by SMU in the second quarter that blew open a 31-21 lead that the Knights tried to, but could never close. Aliyah Gregory did her best, blasting 28 points into the basket while playing all but one minute of game time. A 23-18 fourth quarter wasn’t enough for the Knights (13-9, 3-6) to catch up.
After a date with Houston Wednesday night at press time, the Knights face Tulsa (8-15, 4-6) next. That game tips off at 2 p.m. Saturday in Oklahoma, giving the Knights a shot at a rematch win after losing to the Golden Hurricane 73-62 on Jan. 21.
Winter Park boys’ basketball
On the verge of the district tournament the Wildcats edged Haines City 59-53 at the Bartow Stinger Shootout thanks to a big game by senior Kevin Buckley, who shot 17 points and grabbed six rebounds. Clay Dehart wasn’t far behind with 15 points on an 86-point shooting percentage, plus eight boards.
But after that regular-season ending win, the Wildcats only made it one more game when they fell in the Class 9A District 4 opener to Lake Nona Tuesday night by a score of 62-59. That loss ended the Wildcats’ season, including the stellar high school career of FSU-bound senior Wyatt Wilkes.
Winter Park girls’ basketball
A 42-33 loss ended the lady Wildcats’ season on a low note Feb. 1 as they fell to Colonial in the district tournament.
Edgewater boys’ basketball
The Eagles (18-8) blasted their way into the district championship game with a 66-23 obliteration of Lake Region on Tuesday night.
The win sets the Eagles up against Auburndale (17-10) Friday night on their own home court, as they’re hosting the Class 7A District 6 championship. Auburndale defeated Lake Gibson 75-71 in overtime Tuesday to secure their spot. The championship tips off at 7 p.m. Friday.
Edgewater girls’ basketball
The Eagles (13-14) are into the regional quarterfinal after they beat Auburndale on Feb. 3 to win the district championship 68-52. They’ll face New Smyrna Beach (18-5) at 7 p.m. tonight at home.