March 9, 2011
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By John Denton
EL PASO, Texas. (UCFathletics.com) - Sparked by a game-changing 15-2 run and some dazzling 3-point shooting, UCF was able to overcome a slow start and leads East Carolina 39-34 in first-day play of the Conference USA Championship.
Junior guard Isaac Sosa hit three 3-pointers and two free throws in the first half to lead ninth-seeded UCF back out of an early 10-point deficit.
UCF made 13-of-22 shots in the first half, including seven of 12 shots from beyond the 3-point stripe.
UCF turned the ball over six times early in the game and trailed 20-10 with 10:26 to play in the first half. But the Knights got a spark from Keith Clanton's five quick points to begin the game-turning 15-2 run.
Clanton scored 11 points in the first half by hitting three 3-pointers and converting a nifty spinning layup off a steal.
The first half was marred by an ugly incident with 13 seconds remaining when UCF forward David Diakite got into a shoving match with a couple of East Carolina players following a loose ball scrum on the floor. Diakite made a 3-pointer late in the first half to put the Knights up 28-24 at one point.
The game was stopped more than 10 minutes as officials reviewed video footage of the incident and then conferred more. Diakite, a redshirt sophomore, was ejected after picking up two technical fouls on the play. East Carolina's Darrius Morrow and Corvonn Gaines were whistled for technical fouls, resulting in four UCF free throws. Marcus Jordan made three of those free throws.
Eighth-seeded East Carolina, which beat UCF twice during the regular season, hit six of eight 3-pointers in the first half to keep the game close.
John Denton's Knights Insider appears on UCFathletics.com several times a week. E-mail John at firstname.lastname@example.org.