South Florida (8-3) at UCF (9-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 2, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: UCF Arena (10,000) -- Orlando, Florida. Television: CBS
Sports Network. Home Record: USF 7-2, UCF 7-2. Away Record: USF 1-1, UCF 2-1.
Neutral Record: USF 0-0, UCF 0-0. Conference Record: USF 0-0, UCF 0-0. Series
Record: South Florida leads, 19-7.
GAME NOTES: The South Florida Bulls and UCF Knights will meet for the second
time this season when they square off at UCF Arena in a non-conference tilt.
The Knights began their 2012-13 season with a 74-56 victory over the Bulls,
who enter Wednesday owning a 19-7 all-time series lead versus UCF. However,
the Knights have won the past three encounters.
South Florida has played much better since faltering in the opener. It
improved to 8-3 and extended its winning streak to three by downing George
Mason, 61-57, on Saturday. The Bulls' other two losses came to Western
Michigan and Oklahoma State. Just like the team from a season ago that went
to the NCAA Tournament, Stan Heath's squad is one of the toughest on the
defensive end of the floor in the nation with an allowed average of just 60.6
points per game on 38.6 percent field goal shooting. They are scoring 66.6
ppg, which is just over seven more points than last season.
Donnie Jones's Knights are red-hot with six victories in their last seven
outings, including a 66-63 win over Belmont in the UCF Holiday Tournament
championship game on Saturday. UCF is now 9-3 overall with a 7-2 mark in its
own arena. The Knights are playing spirited basketball this season which has
led to a scoring offense of 69.8 ppg with 49.5 percent shooting from the field
including a 40 percent clip from beyond the arc. Defensively, they are
allowing only 63.1 ppg on 41.2 percent shooting.
The Bulls will be shorthanded for this one as Shaun Noriega, JaVontae Hawkins,
and starting point guard Anthony Collins, who averages 9.6 points and 7.6
assists per game, are all unavailable due to injury. Forward Kore White is
also questionable. USF will still have its top three scorers and rebounders,
Toarlyn Fitzpatrick (11.8 ppg, 6.3 rpg), Victor Rudd (11.1 ppg, 7.5 rpg), and
Jawanza Poland (10.5 ppg, 5.1 rpg) in uniform. Their production will need to
go up, but more points will be hard to find without Collins drawing defenders
Senior forward Keith Clanton could have transferred to any program in the
country after the NCAA ruled UCF ineligible for postseason play over the
summer, but he decided to stick around and finish his career in Orlando. The
Knights have thrived behind his leadership as he is carrying team-high
averages of 17 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks per outing. Clanton
registered a double-double of 26 points and 10 rebounds to lift the team over
Belmont. Isaiah Sykes is second on the team in both scoring (14.8) and
rebounding (6.3). Kasey Wilson (11.2 ppg) and Tristan Spurlock (9.6 ppg) have
both started all 12 games, but Jones has yet to identify a consistent fifth
The Knights are exceeding expectations this season as they are playing for
pride over everything else. South Florida could avenge its season-opening loss
to UCF, but it will need someone else to emerge as a playmaker to replace the
production of its fallen floor general.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UCF 68, South Florida 62
01/02 10:33:24 ET
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