Knights Claim UCF Holiday Classic Title


Dec. 31, 2007

Final Stats | Notes

ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - Junior guard Jermaine Taylor (Tavares, Fla./Tavares) scored a game-high 20 points to help the UCF men's basketball team claim the UCF Holiday Classic with a 78-69 victory over Long Island Monday at the new UCF Arena. Taylor claimed tournament MVP honors after averaging 20.5 points in two contests at the event.

UCF (7-6) outscored Long Island, 52-36 in the paint, highlighted by numerous impressive dunks from Taylor in the win. It was the 10th-consecutive outing that he paced the Knights in scoring.

LIU (9-4) saw its five-game winning streak come to an end, even though Kellen Allen came off the bench to lead the Blackbirds with 16 points.

The Knights broke an early 11-11 deadlock when freshman forward Jean Michel Yotio (Abidjan, Ivory Coast/Montverde) hit a layup at the 13:34 mark of the first half. The Knights took a 41-22 lead into halftime.

For the second day in a row, UCF committed just one turnover in the opening stanza and finished with only eight miscues for the game.

"We did a nice job coming out and establishing ourselves in the first half and played good defense," said UCF head coach Kirk Speraw. "It's a good win when you only have eight turnovers. There were a lot of positives."

LIU fell behind by 24 in the second half but made it interesting by trimming it to eight at 72-64 with 51.2 seconds remaining. However, the Knights sank some crucial free throws to seal the tournament championship.

Taylor was joined by senior guard Dave Noel (Boynton Beach, Fla./Boynton Beach) on the all-tournament team for the Knights. Noel totaled 13 points and seven assists against the Blackbirds.

The Knights shot 49.2 percent for the contest from the field.

Senior center Stanley Billings (Orlando, Fla./Oak Ridge) recorded 12 points and a game-high seven boards in the victory.

Long Island's Allen was selected to the all-tournament team, as was teammate Jaytornah Wisseh (15 points, seven assists).

In the tournament consolation game, Texas-Pan Am posted a 76-61 win over NJIT. Texas-Pan Am's Paul Stoll and Kraig Peters of NJIT rounded out the all-tournament team.

UCF will conclude the non-conference portion of its schedule on Saturday at Sam Houston State.

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