Owly Overtime



March 4, 2014

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By Andy Seeley

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (UCFKnights.com) – The Knights were without their leader and their leading scorer when they faced Temple Tuesday night. The Knights put forth a valiant effort with head coach Donnie Jones back home in Orlando due to an illness and leading scorer Isaiah Sykes out with a foot injury.

That effort was led by senior guard Calvin Newell, who matched a season-high with 23 points in his hometown. Unfortunately, Newell’s big night wasn’t quite enough for UCF (11-17, 3-14 American Athletic Conference), as Temple (8-21, 3-14) took an 86-78 victory in overtime.

Newell sparked the Knights to a hot start. His three early three-pointers sparked the Knights to a 20-13 lead midway through the first half. UCF led 24-18 with seven minutes remaining in the first half when Justin McBride scored inside. But Temple, led by six straight points from Will Cummings, tied it at 24-24. The Owls outscored UCF 18-6 to go up by six, 36-30, with under 10 seconds left in the half.

Newell hit his fourth triple of the first half, matching his season-best mark, at the buzzer to send the Knights to the locker room down by three, 36-33.

Dalton Pepper hit a pair of three-pointers early in the second half and Temple spurted out to its largest lead of the game, 48-37, less than six minutes into the second half. But the Knights hung tough. Matt Williams powered a 16-4 run with a pair of triples of his own. When Staphon Blair scored in the paint with eight minutes left, UCF led by one, 53-52. But Pepper answered with his third three-pointer of the game and Temple regained the lead.

UCF trailed 70-68 with under 10 seconds left. Newell cut between defenders on the way to the basket and was fouled with five seconds remaining. He knocked down both free throws to tie the game at 70-70. A Blair block at the rim preserved the tie score and sent the game to overtime. UCF shot 10-of-15 from the floor and 13-of-16 from the line in the second half to get back in the game.

The Knights led 72-70 in the extra session on a pair of Kasey Wilson free throws. But Temple used an 8-2 run over the next three minutes to take a four-point lead. UCF couldn’t continue its hot shooting in the overtime period, going just 3-of-10 from the floor. Temple hit six straight free throws in the final 30 seconds to secure the victory.

In addition to Newell’s 23-point night, Wilson added 14 points and a team-high seven rebounds. Matt Williams scored 11 off the bench. Pepper scored 26 to pace three Owls with 20 or more. Will Cummings added 23 and Anthony Lee tacked on 20.

The Knights are in action again at 7 p.m. Friday, when they host Houston at CFE Arena. It will be Senior Knight for UCF, which will honor Isaac Lang, Newell, Tristan Spurlock and Sykes prior to the contest.