After Big Wins Last Week, Knights Fall at Tulsa


Jan. 25, 2012

Final Stats

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By Doug Richards

Box Score in PDF Format

TULSA, Okla. (UCFAthletics.com) - UCF recovered from a 10-point first-half deficit Wednesday night at the Reynolds Center, but the Knights could not handle some difficult calls late in game as Tulsa held on for a 66-61 Conference USA victory. The loss snapped a two-game winning streak for the Knights (15-5, 5-2 C-USA) who defeated Memphis and UAB for the first time last week.

UCF was looking for its first victory in seven tries at Tulsa (12-9, 5-2), but it was the Golden Hurricane who played well enough at the end of the game to claim their fifth-straight win.

The Knights trailed 61-58 with one minute left and after Keith Clanton (15 points, 11 rebounds) blocked a Jordan Clarkson shot and then grabbed the board, UCF called timeout with a chance to tie the game. Marcus Jordan drove to the basket and scored a layup with 15 seconds left, but was called for the charge. Jordan disagreed with the call and was whistled for a technical foul.

Clarkson hit both free throws and made three more, including two after a technical on Clanton, two seconds later to put the game out of reach.

"We had an opportunity (to win)," UCF head coach Donnie Jones said. "We need to keep our composure. We need to be able to handle that."

The second half featured five ties and six lead changes. UCF grabbed one-point advantages on a few occasions, including a 52-51 lead with 8:16 to go when A.J. Rompza hit a jumper.

The Knights got off to a slow start and Tulsa led 25-15 just under 15 minutes into the game after Scottie Haralson hit one of his five first-half 3-pointers. Kasey Wilson sparked a UCF run near the end of the half with a triple at the 2:49 mark. The 3-pointer was the start of a 12-4 spurt to close the half which included back-to-back fastbreak baskets by Tristan Spurlock and Isaiah Sykes. After Jordan nailed a layup with two seconds left, the Golden Hurricane's advantage was cut to 32-30 at intermission.

Tulsa built its lead back up to five points with six minutes to play in the game, but UCF did not go away, and trailed 57-56 with 2:39 on the clock after a pair of free throws from Rompza and a sensational reverse layup by Clanton. The hosts then got four points on second-chance opportunities - a putback by Joe Richard after a missed Steven Idlet free throw and two foul shots from Clarkson after another Idlet missed free throw - to go back up five points.

"We fought back and were right were we needed to be, but we didn't make some plays down the stretch," Jones said.

Rompza scored all 11 of his points after halftime. Spurlock also finished with double figures in scoring as he totaled 10 points. UCF shot 37.7 percent for the game, compared to 51.0 percent for the Golden Hurricane.

Haralson led all players with 18 points and Clarkson added 15 in the win.

UCF will return to action Saturday, hosting Southern Miss at 7 p.m. at the UCF Arena.