Clanton, Knights Open Battle 4 Atlantis with Win


Nov. 24, 2011

Final Stats

="" alt="Knight Head" border="0" class="imported"> Read John Denton's Knights Insider | ="" alt="Twitter Logo" border="0" class="imported">Follow us on Twitter | ="" alt="Facebook Logo" border="0" class="imported">Get social with the Knights on Facebook

By Doug Richards

Box Score Attached in PDF Format

PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (UCFAthletics.com) - Treating their visit to the Caribbean as a business trip, UCF opened the Battle 4 Atlantis on Thanksgiving in fine fashion. In their most complete effort of the young season, the Knights used a strong push in the second half to open the tournament with a 74-63 victory over College of Charleston.

The Knights received great contributions from juniors Keith Clanton, who matched a career best with 28 points, and Marcus Jordan, especially during the second half. As a result of the win, UCF (3-1) moves on to the Battle 4 Atlantis semifinals, where it will meet defending national champion UConn or UNC-Asheville Friday at 2 p.m. The game will air nationally on Versus.

UCF closed the game Thursday with an 18-5 run, and shot 55.6 percent overall in the second half.

College of Charleston (3-1) was coming off of a 72-69 victory at Clemson. The Cougars participated in the postseason NIT last year.

"We are excited about the win," UCF head coach Donnie Jones said. "That is a very good basketball team in College of Charleston. What a great basketball game to open up this tournament. We knew that it was going to be a tough battle. I am really proud of our team."

Clanton shot 12-of-17 overall, 2-of-3 from 3-point range and added three blocks and two steals in 36 minutes. During the first half, Clanton went over the 500-career rebound mark, becoming just the 11th player in school history with at least 500 boards. Jordan recoded 17 points and six assists, including three long touchdown-like passes on fastbreaks, in 38 minutes of action.

"We had some great efforts tonight," Jones said. "Keith had a double-double. Marcus ran our team. Those guys led our team and we got some good efforts from guys off the bench. We are really excited. We know that College of Charleston is going to be a postseason team. That was a great victory for our program."

The pair sparked the run at the end of the game that allowed the Knights to turn a 2-point deficit with 7:50 remaining into a 9-point lead with only 1:30 play. Clanton had six points during the spurt, and also blocked a pair of shots inside that would have allowed the Cougars to stay within striking range. When Clanton found Tristan Spurlock down low for a dunk, the Knights were allowed to take a 69-60 lead with only 1:35 remaining on the clock.

UCF dominated on the glass, finishing with a 44-25 edge on the boards.

The Knights led 33-31 at the half after Clanton totaled 10 points, and Jordan added nine points, before intermission. UCF closed the first half with a 7-2 run.

UCF and College of Charleston were meeting for the first time since 2003. The programs were both members of the Atlantic Sun in the 1990s.

The Battle 4 Atlantis is in its first year. UCF is one of eight teams competing at the three-day event. Games are being played inside a converted ballroom that has room for 4,000 spectators.

The Knights enjoyed great fan support Thursday. Around 75 UCF supporters made the trip to the Bahamas.

With game one in the Bahamas now in the books, the Knights will now turn their attention to Friday's game. UConn is ranked fourth overall, and will play UNC-Asheville at 7 p.m. tonight. A year ago, UNC-Asheville won the Big South Tournament title, and participated in the NCAA Tournament.