Niagara Hands UCF First Loss of 2009-10


Nov. 21, 2009

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By Doug Richards

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - On Friday, UCF was the aggressor early against Auburn. The Knights came out with great intensity, built a big lead and finished with an 84-74 win over the Tigers.

UCF could not duplicate the effort Saturday at the Ocean Center, as Niagara got off to a great start and cruised to a 63-46 victory over the Knights at the Glenn Wilkes Classic. The loss was the first of the campaign for the Knights (3-1).

Niagara (3-1) forced 23 UCF turnovers, and limited the Knights to 31.6 percent shooting overall and a 17.4 percent effort from deep. The Purple Eagles raced out to a 7-0 advantage, and led 30-21 at the break.

"Niagara had all of the energy early, and got us back on our heels," UCF head coach Kirk Speraw said. "Then we were not able to respond in the way we needed to."

Several Knights were in foul trouble throughout the contest. UCF's two point guards - junior Taylor Young (Orlando, Fla.) and sophomore A.J. Rompza (Chicago, Ill.)- were both whistled for three fouls in the opening half. As a result, Speraw was forced to use some unorthodox lineups, and the Knights never looked comfortable offensively.

The Purple Eagles have three seniors and one junior in their starting lineup. Speraw said postgame that Niagara did a better job preparing for today's game after playing a contest (a win over Howard) yesterday than UCF's youthful squad did. "That was a veteran group, versus a non-veteran group," Speraw said. Demetrius Williamson paced Niagara with 13 points.

Junior forward A.J. Tyler (Palm Harbor, Fla.) was the lone Knight to finish the contest with double-digits in points (12). Freshman forward Keith Clanton (Orlando, Fla.) led all players with eight boards.

UCF will have to quickly forget about their struggles against Niagara. On Sunday, the Knights will conclude the Glenn Wilkes Classic at 3:30 p.m. against Drake. According to Tyler, UCF must get off to a strong start, just as it did in the victory over Auburn.

"We've got to come out with more energy and intensity after (today)." For the latest news on the Knights, log on to UCFAthletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. The site, which also contains ticket and Golden Knights Club donor information, is also the home of UCF's new online apparel store. Also visit UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.