Knights See Winning Streak Snapped at Marshall


March 5, 2011

Final Stats

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By Doug Richards

Box Score in PDF Format

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (UCFAthletics.com) - When Marshall played at UCF on Jan. 5, the Thundering Herd were greeted by one of the largest crowds in UCF Arena history. In front of 9,460 fans that evening, the Knights opened Conference USA play with a 65-58 victory.

UCF's fans were loud and active and created a daunting environment for the Herd.

On Saturday as the teams concluded league play at the Cam Henderson Center, Marshall fans returned the favor. Fueled by a capacity crowd of 9,036 boisterous spectators, the Herd used a big first half to post an 83-69 victory, snapping the Knights' three-game winning streak.

UCF (19-10, 6-10 C-USA) has secured the No. 9 seed at the C-USA Championship, and will begin play at the event Wednesday in El Paso, Texas.

The Herd (21-10, 9-7) led 43-27 at the break, and built their lead to 24 points early in the second half, but the Knights refused to go away. The team used a 14-2 run to get back into the contest. A.J. Rompza hit a pair of 3-pointers during the run, and Marcus Jordan, who scored a game-high 27 points, added five points. He capped the spurt at the 10:33 mark with a pair of free throws that cut Marshall's advantage to 12 points.

After a defensive stop, UCF failed to score on its next possession when Keith Clanton missed a pair of free throws, and the Herd got buckets on their next three trips down the floor to pull away.

The physical contest included six technical foul calls - including four on the Knights - and one flagrant foul.

The game marked the first trip back to Huntington for UCF head coach Donnie Jones, who spent the last three years at Marshall.

"What an atmosphere tonight," Jones said. "We knew that this would be one of the best places in college basketball to play. Our kids competed. Marshall played very, very well. They are playing as well as anybody in our conference right now."

The Herd built their big advantage in the opening stanza by shooting 50.0 percent overall in the first half. Marshall shot 51.9 percent for the game, and made 22-of-27 (81.5 percent) of its free-throw attempts.

UCF shot 44.4 percent from the field, but made just 59.1 percent of its free throws. In the opening half, the Knights made 39.1 percent of their field-goal tries.

"Some shots just didn't go down," Jones said. "We had a chance with 10 minutes to go. Two free throws could have cut it to 10, and it didn't go down for us."

Jordan and Clanton were the lone Knights to finish with double digits in scoring. Jordan shot 7-of-16 from the field and 10-of-13 at the line. He scored 21 of his points after the break. Clanton finished with 17 points on 7-of-13 shooting.

Damier Pitts led Marshall with 25 points. He shot 10-of-11 at the line.