Second-Half Rally Lifts Unbeaten UCF Past Miami
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) – Unbeaten Central Florida gave up 17 consecutive points in the first half before Keith Clanton led a rally that helped the Knights beat Miami, 84-78, on Saturday in the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic.
The Knights trailed 43-31 late in the first half, their largest deficit this season. Clanton scored all but one of his 14 points after halftime, and Marcus Jordan scored 23 before leaving the game due to injury with 84 seconds left.
Jordan, the son of Michael Jordan, appeared to hurt his left ankle when he was fouled and fell at midcourt. He grimaced in pain and didn’t put any weight on his ankle as he was helped to the sideline, but he stood in front of the bench in the final seconds.
The Knights (10-0), off to their best start since 1979, are on the verge of cracking the Top 25 for the first time. Six of their wins have comes against in-state opponents, including the Florida Gators.
The Hurricanes (7-3) had won five games in a row, and they lost to UCF for the first time in seven meetings.
Clanton, the Knights’ leading scorer this season, went without a basket for the first 23 1/2 minutes but finished 6 for 8 and had seven rebounds. UCF shot 15 for 20 (75 percent) in the second half.
Miami led 47-45 when the game was delayed for 25 minutes in the second half because of a power outage in the area. The Knights were at their best after that, penetrating into the lane repeatedly down the stretch.
Isaiah Sykes hit a left hook to give UCF its first lead of the half, 59-58, with eight minutes left. The basket came during a stretch when the Knights scored on eight of nine possessions, and they stayed ahead the rest of the way.
The Hurricanes got within three points when Malcolm Grant was fouled hitting a three-pointers. He converted the free throw and Miami was down 79-76 with 38 seconds to go.
Nursing a three-point lead, UCF missed four consecutive free throws in the final 34 seconds. But Sykes made an interception beforeMiami could attempt a tying shot, and Dave Diakite’s two free throws sealed the win.
Three-point baskets by Thomas and Grant capped the Hurricanes’ 17-point run in the first half, which put them ahead 21-10. The Knights missed 12 consecutive shots and went 6 1/2 minutes without a point.
DeQuan Jones had three dunks in the final 3:18 of the first half to help Miami lead 43-33 at halftime.
Thomas for Three
As a team, the Hurricanes shot a season-high 53.8 percent (7-13) from beyond the arc. Malcolm Grant added a 3-for-3 performance — including a potential game-changer with just 38 seconds to go.
From the Line
Hear the Whistles
On the afternoon, UCF converted 21of a season-high 43 free throw attempts (.488), while Miami hit 21-of-30 attempts (.700) from the charity stripe.
Pack Your Bags