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Second-Half Rally Lifts Unbeaten UCF Past Miami

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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.

Grant led the Hurricanes with 19 points, Durand Scott added 16 and Adrian Thomas scored 12 points on four three-pointers in the first half.

  1st 2nd F
Miami 43 35 78
UCF 33 51 84
Team Stat Comparison
  um.gif UM LogoUCF
Points 78 84
FG Made-Attempted 25-57 29-56
FG Percentage 43.9 51.8
3P Made-Attempted 7-13 5-14
3P Percentage 53.8 35.7
FT Made-Attempted 21-30 21-43
FT Percentage 70.0 48.8
Rebounds 35 39
Assists 10 8
Turnovers 11 11
Miami Stat Leaders UCF
M. Grant 19 Points 23 M. Jordan
R. Johnson 6 Rebounds 7 K. Clanton
D. Scott 5 Assists 5 M. Jordan
G. Adams 2 Steals 2 I. Sykes
J. Gamble 2 Blocks 2 T. Herzog

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.

Tonight’s Starters
Starting for Miami this afternoon was Durand Scott, Malcolm Grant, Garrius Adams, Julian Gamble and Reggie Johnson. The Hurricanes are now 4-1 with this starting lineup.

Thomas for Three
Going 4-for-5 from long range in the opening half, Adrian Thomas passed assistant coach Jake Morton for ninth on Miami’s career three-point list with 138. He is now 26 threes out of eighth place, held by Johnny Hemsley (1996-2000) with 164 treys over his career. Thomas has now hit a three-pointer in 52 of his last 58 games and finished with with a 12 points for his fifth-straight game in double figures.

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
Malcolm Grant went 6-for-6 from the charity stripe versus UCF and has hit 25 of his last 27 attempts from the charity stripe (.926) over the last six games. He is shooting 87.8 percent from the line for the season. Durand Scott added a 4-for-4 performance from the charity stripe and is shooting 83.3 percent for the season.

Hear the Whistles
The Hurricanes were called for a season-high tying 29 fouls versus UCF as three starters — Scott, Gamble and Johnson — all fouled out before the game’s completion. Johnson played a season-low 16 minutes and fouled out 4:49 remaining in the game, finishing with six points and a team-high six rebounds. The last time Miami was called for 29 fouls was versus another Conference USA team in Memphis on Nov. 15.

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
This afternoon’s neutral-site game marked the first of four straight for the Hurricanes over a six-day span. Miami heads west to Las Vegas on Sunday, to compete in the Las Vegas Holiday Hoops Classic at South Point Arena from Dec. 21-23.

A First
This is Miami’s first loss of the season when leading at the half, scoring 70-or-more points, shooting 40 percent or better from the field and committing the same number of turnovers as its opponent.