Clanton, Knights Conclude 20-Win Campaign With Tough Loss


March 9, 2013

Final Stats

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By Doug Richards

Box Score in PDF Format

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (UCFAthletics.com) - UCF hoped to send Keith Clanton out with a victory in his final game, but a second-half comeback by the Knights was not enough as Dwayne Davis scored 34 points to lead Southern Miss to a 70-62 win Saturday at Reed Green Coliseum. The Knights, who conclude the campaign 20-11 overall and 9-7 in Conference USA, nearly overcame a 14-point second-half deficit.

The Knights got within a point with 6:28 to play when Isaiah Sykes, who finished with 22 points, 11 rebounds and three steals, drained a 3-pointer and after Southern Miss went up by six, cut the deficit to three points with 2:40 left on a Sykes foul shot. Davis answered with a triple on the ensuing possession and the Knights got no closer than four points the rest of the way.

"I am so proud of this team," UCF head coach Donnie Jones said. "Not only of how they played tonight, but how they played this season. They fought and fought and handled so much adversity. I enjoyed coaching this team each and every day and I am proud of all that we accomplished."

UCF's all-time leader in rebounds, blocks and games played, Clanton made his 121st-consecutive start and reached the 1,000-rebound mark with his seven boards to accompany his seven points. The Orlando native became only the second player in C-USA history to score at least 1,000 points and grab 1,000 rebounds.

"It hit me in the locker room, knowing that it is my last game. I looked around, and I couldn't hold [the emotions in]. Knowing that it was my last time with these guys, the last time that I play as a Knight...it is a good feeling. I am looking forward to the future, but happy with what happened," Clanton said.

Southern Miss (23-8, 12-4) improved to 12-1 at home with the win.

Sykes totaled nine points and Matt Williams hit a pair of triples during a 22-10 UCF run midway through the second half that got the Knights back into the game. Davis slowed down the spurt with four-consecutive free throws after a foul on Sykes and a UCF technical foul. He finished the contest 9-of-15 from the floor, 4-of-7 from deep and 12-of-12 at the line.

The Golden Eagles controlled most of the opening stanza as they took advantage of 11 UCF turnovers and scored 11 points off of the miscues. Sykes' 10-first half points kept the Knights within striking distance throughout the half and the hosts took a 33-23 advantage into the break.

On Wednesday, UCF secured its third-straight 20-win campaign under Jones with a 74-70 victory at UAB. Against Southern Miss, Kasey Wilson added 11 points for UCF. The Knights shot 33.9 percent from the floor and finished with a 41-33 edge on the glass.

UCF was playing its final game as a member of C-USA.