Defensive Effort Gives Knights Perfect 7-0 Start

Dec. 4, 2010

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By Doug Richards

Box Score in PDF Format

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Southeastern Louisiana entered Saturday's game against the Knights with one of the top offenses in the country as the Lions were scoring over 86 points per game. The Lions got off to a quick start at the UCF Arena, but then the Knights clamped down defensively and stifled the visitors on their way to a 74-49 victory that improved UCF to 7-0 for the first time since the program moved to the Division I ranks in the 1980s.

Keith Clanton led the way for the Knights as the sophomore forward swatted eight shots, which tied a UCF single-game record, to go along with 16 points and 15 rebounds. UCF held the Lions (4-2) to just a 29.5 percent shooting effort from the field, impressing the crowd of 6,293 fans, many of whom watched the football team claim the Conference USA title earlier in the day.

Although they got off to a slow start - the Lions led 7-0 early - the Knights showed that they were prepared to play after Wednesday's emotional 57-54 victory over 16th-ranked Florida. UCF shot 53.4 percent overall for the game, and recorded 18 assists on 31 made field goals.

"You worry about the meltdown after an emotional win, beating a team like Florida," Jones said. "I am really proud of these guys because our last two practices, I thought they were very focused. We talked about the key to our success so far has been our energy, effort and preparation. I think guys have really bought in to what we have been talking about. Tonight was a great example. That is a very good basketball team that we beat."

After Southeastern Louisiana's early lead, the Knights got some big baskets from Clanton and fellow sophomore Marcus Jordan to get back into the game, and eventually take the lead. UCF capped a 17-8 run at the 12:29 mark of the opening half with a Jordan triple to take the lead for good. The hosts led 38-24 at the break.

Clanton, who recorded his third double-double of the season, was one of four Knights who finished with double-digits in scoring. Isaac Sosa totaled 17 points, including an incredible reverse layup on a fastbreak in the second half, Jordan scored 13 points and A.J. Rompza added 11 points to go with eight assists and four steals. UCF finished with 11 blocked shots and forced 16 turnovers. Sosa, known for his shooting ability, made a point of drawing attention to the team's defense when he was asked about the key to the team's perfect start, following the game. The Knights are holding foes to only 52.6 points in 2010-11.

"I think most of the credit goes to our defense," he said. "We really focus on the defense, taking away the 3-point shot, staying aggressive for the whole game (and) pressing. It is a different style that team's haven't really seen. We try to take away (their) energy, and that is what we have been doing so far."

The Knights will now have a few days off due to final exams. The team will not play again until next Saturday when UCF hosts Bethune-Cookman.