Promising Start Leads to Disappointing Finish for Knights


Feb. 22, 2012

Final Stats

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By Doug Richards

Box Score in PDF Format

HOUSTON (UCFAthletics.com) - A promising start led to a disappointing finish Wednesday for UCF as Rice rallied for an 83-74 Conference USA win over the Knights at Tudor Fieldhouse. UCF led by 12 points at the half but was outscored 46-25 after intermission.

Rice shot 59.3 percent in the second half and forced 10 UCF turnovers after the break. The Knights fell to 19-8 overall and 8-5 in C-USA play, while the Owls improved to 16-12 and 7-6. Keith Clanton led UCF with 18 points and seven rebounds.

Rice opened the second half with a 13-2 run, grabbing the momentum for the rest of the contest. The hosts grabbed the lead for a good at the 6:12 mark when Amhad Ibrahim scored inside and built its edge to five points with 3:33 to play when Arsalan Kazemi made two free throws.

"You have to give Rice credit," UCF head coach Donnie Jones said. "They played with much more toughness in the second half. We turned the ball over too much, and did not do a good job defensively."

UCF shot an incredible 70.4 percent from the floor in the first half. Thanks to 16 points from Clanton, the Knights led by as many as 15 points in the opening stanza and took a 49-37 edge into halftime. UCF made 8-of-12 (66.7 percent) of its attempts from deep in the first 20 minutes.

A.J. Rompza and P.J. Gaynor each had five points during a 12-2 UCF run late in the first half the helped UCF build its lead. After hitting a jumper on the Knights' previous possession, Rompza drained a long 3-pointer with 4:02 left in the half that gave UCF a 44-29 advantage.

UCF shot 54.2 percent for the game, while Rice shot 52.5 percent. Dylan Ennis led the Owls with 15 points.

Clanton was one of three UCF players to finish with double-digits in scoring as Isaiah Sykes scored 15 points and Kasey Wilson added 13 points off the bench.

UCF will now return to Orlando to host UTEP Saturday evening. Tipoff from the UCF Arena is 8 p.m.