March 25, 2013
UCF Athletics Social Media Directory
By Ben Schulman
ORLANDO,Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - During UCF's 20-win campaign, several victories stood out over the others. Over the course of the year there were nail biters that came down to the last second to domination over rivals. Here is a look at the top-5 victories of the season.
5. Surviving in Overtime
UCF 79, Houston 75
Coming off a week of rest, UCF could not wait to take the court in Houston. As the final buzzer sounded Tristan Spurlock hit a three-pointer that appeared to win the game for the Knights. An officials' review determined that the ball did not leave Spurlock's hands before the clock hit zero. In overtime, Isaiah Sykes tipped in a missed shot with 25 seconds left to put UCF up three. After that play, the Knights had two defensive stops and Spurlock added one free throw for the victory. UCF fell behind early with Houston scoring the first nine points of the game. Staphon Blair's dunk tied the game at 25 with 6:13 left in the first half to pull the Knights out of an early deficit. The Knights shot 50 percent from the field.
4. Defensive Effort Causes Knightmares
UCF 64, UAB 48
In the conference opener, not only did the Knights' defense show up, but so did the student section at the UCF Arena. The student section was loud the entire night which helped propel UCF's defensive efforts. The Blazers did not hit a three (0-of-23) and were limited to 26 percent shooting. Up until the 15:20 mark of the second half, with the game tied at 31, the contest was a defensive struggle. After that point, the Knights started to pull away. In the first half, Keith Clanton became the fourth player in UCF history to record at least 1,500 career points and 500 career rebounds.
3. Playing for a Championship
UCF 66, Belmont 63
During the championship game of the UCF Holiday Tournament, UCF pulled out the victory against Belmont. At the time of the game, Belmont was ranked 16th nationally in the RPI. Keith Clanton, who recorded a double-double with 26 points and 10 rebounds, was named the tournament MVP after the game. The Knights led by 12 at halftime by playing tight defense. UCF held Belmont to 25.7 percent shooting and 1-of-11 (9.1 percent) from three-point range. In the second half, UCF's lead increased to 13 points, until Belmont fought its way back.
2. Historic Victory
UCF 74, USF 56
A historic win at the Sun Dome was the perfect way to start a season for the Knights. The victory in Tampa was UCF's first since 1978. Knight fans came out to Tampa in good numbers to support UCF and were loud the entire night. UCF raced out to a 40-24 advantage at halftime, led by Isaiah Sykes with 17 points, nine rebounds and four assists. Sykes finished the game with 26 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists. On the glass the Knights had a 45-26 advantage and grabbed 26 offensive rebounds. In the second half, the Bulls got within 12 points, however they could not get any closer. The Knights shot 50 percent from the field for the game.
1. Swatting Away the Competition
UCF 60, Southern Miss 58
Two defensive stops in the final seconds preserved the two-point victory for host UCF. With 14.6 seconds left, Isaiah Sykes stepped up to the free throw line and knocked down both free throws to put UCF up two. After the free throws, Keith Clanton blocked a corner three into the crowd and after a quick timeout UCF forced Neil Watson into a misguided three at the buzzer ending Southern Miss's 10-game winning streak. At the first media timeout, UCF was down 15-5, and fought to tie the game at 27 with 2:41 remaining in the first half. In the second half, Southern Miss was held to 27.6 percent shooting and had only one field goal in the final 10 minutes of the game. Heading into the game, Southern Miss was undefeated in the conference and receiving top-25 votes.