Knight and Day!
For the better part of 40 minutes, the UCF Knights looked like the team that started the year 14-0, knocked off Florida, and climbed to number 18 in the polls. There were also times the Knights looked like the team that started conference play 3-9. The Miners came out incredibly flat and shot a dismal 10-30 (33%) in the first half. A lot of the misses were at point blank range. Tim Floyd counted eight missed lay-ups in the first half. Conversely, the Knights looked like they were accustomed to 11 A.M Monday games and shot an unworldly 16-24 (67%) in the first half. The Miners went into the locker room trailing 39-25 and searching for answers and field goals.
The UCF lead grew to nearly twenty early in the second half, but the Miners found ways to get to the basket and cut the lead to eight with ten minutes to go. The Miners once again went ice cold down the stretch, and the Knights got to the line enough to fend off the gutsy UTEP comeback effort 74-68. The Miners did a good job defending UCF’s leading scorer, and his airness’ son, Marcus Jordan. M.J. netted 13 points on just 2-7 shooting. Marcus’s Scottie Pippen, Keith Clanton, scored 15 poins on 6-10 shooting and pulled down 13 boards.
Despite the time and day the crowd was tremendous. Nine dollar general admission tickets didn’t hurt but the crowd was nearly 10,000 strong. They were as loud as I’ve heard them in a long time when the Miners were trying to claw back into the game. Perhaps the outcome would have been different if the game were played on Feb. 2nd, but Tim Floyd summed it up best in the press room when he matter of factly stated, ‘We got outplayed.’