UCF's Upset Bid Comes Up Short at No. 14 UConn


Dec. 20, 2009

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By Doug Richards

HARTFORD, Conn. (UCFAthletics.com) - For 30 minutes Sunday at the XL Center, a potential upset of 14th-ranked UConn seemed more than possible for the Knights. UCF used tough defense and good decision making on offense to take a five-point lead into intermission, and continued its strong play at the start of the second half.

But the young Knights upset bid was thwarted though when the Huskies' Stanley Robinson, an All-America candidate, took over the game and lifted UConn to a 60-51 victory. After the contest, UCF head coach Kirk Speraw was complimentary of the Huskies, but also spoke highly of how his team played.

"I am very proud of our guys and the effort that they gave out there. Also, it was effort with good thought in trying to take care of our details. We knew that the best way that they scored was in transition. The first part of defensive transition is not turning the ball over and we had only five turnovers at halftime. We did a great job of taking care of it."

Robinson scored 23 of his 26 points in the second half. He gave UConn the lead for good at the 9:33 mark with a slam dunk on a fastbreak. The basket sparked a 13-3 UConn run.

"Their All-American players stepped up," Speraw said. "There is a reason why they are All-Americans."

Despite the loss, there were many positive signs for the Knights during the contest. UCF forced 13 turnovers in the opening half, and got eight points during the period from junior forward A.J. Tyler (Palm Harbor, Fla.) and seven from freshman guard Marcus Jordan (Highland Park, Ill.) to take a 25-20 lead into the break. UCF's patience on offense, and effort on defense did not please the 13,685 fans at the XL Center, or UConn head coach Jim Calhoun.

Jordan, who has played well of late, finished with a team-high 13 points. Tyler added 12 points for the Knights. Redshirt freshman Dave Diakite (Washington, D.C.) did not do much offensively, but grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds. Six of his boards were offensive as UCF finished with a 36-34 edge on the glass against a taller, more experienced team.

"This is a good effort by our guys," Speraw said. "They competed hard and we can take some positives from this, even though we don't like the outcome. On the road at the No. 14 team in the country, and in one of the toughest places to play in the country, and you played the way that you did (is positive)."

UCF was playing at a BIG EAST Conference program for the third time this month. The Knights already faced Notre Dame and USF in December.

After its strong first-half performance, the Knights increased their advantage to nine points a minute into the second half after baskets from freshman forward Keith Clanton (Orlando, Fla.) and sophomore guard Isaac Sosa (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico). Clanton and Sosa both scored seven points.

The fact that the Knights were in the game despite making just six trips to the free-throw line, compared to 28 for UConn, was impressive. Both Diakite and Tyler fouled out.

UCF will have several days off before its next contest, a Dec. 29 tilt at the UCF Arena against Liberty. The game is part of the UCF Holiday Classic. Buffalo and Jacksonville are also participating in the event.

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.