UCF Dominates Valpo for Fifth-Straight Victory



Dec. 22, 2013

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By Doug Richards

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ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) - The UCF men's basketball team will enter conference play coming off its strongest performance of the season. On Sunday, the Knights (8-3) concluded the Jackson Hewitt UCF Holiday Classic with a dominating 90-62 victory over Valpo to post its fifth-straight win.

The game was the last non-league contest for the Knights, who will make their American Athletic Conference debut on New Year's Eve against defending national champion Louisville at CFE Arena.

Tristan Spurlock paced UCF with a game-high 22 points.

Valpo (8-6) entered the game having won four of its last five contests and also owned an 85-70 victory over the Knights in November in Indiana, but the Crusaders never led Sunday and were held to just 39.2 percent shooting for the contest.

"Today was our day," UCF head coach Donnie Jones said. "I thought we came out and established ourselves defensively. We were able to break away there and we never looked back. I was really proud of the way we cheered today, the way we shared today and the way we cared. I am glad we played the way we did."

UCF limited the Crusaders to only 4-of-20 (20.0 percent) shooting from the floor and a 1-of-10 effort from deep in the opening stanza. The Knights made 8-of-12 triples in the first 20 minutes. Spurlock completed a four-point play at the 4:33 mark that gave UCF a 13-point edge and drained another triple two minutes later that put the hosts up 34-15.

UCF took a 43-20 advantage into intermission.

Spurlock was one of five Knights to finish with double digits in scoring, joining Brandon Goodwin (12 points), Eugene McCrory (11), Isaiah Sykes (10) and Kasey Wilson (10). Spurlock shot 7-of-8 overall and connected on 4-of-5 3-pointers.

"They are a good team," Spurlock said of Valpo. "They are going to win a lot of games. At Valpo is a really tough place to play. I think tonight that we came out and shared the ball and shot the ball really well."

UCF shot 51.7 percent for the game and made 11-of-19 (57.9 percent) of its tries from deep.