UCF (5-2) at Old Dominion (1-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, December 14, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Constant Convocation Center (9,520) -- Norfolk, Virginia. Television: None. Home Record: UCF 4-1, ODU 1-5. Away Record: UCF 1-1, ODU 0-3. Neutral Record: UCF 0-0, ODU 0-0. Conference Record: UCF 0-0, ODU 0-0. Series Record: Series is tied, 1-1.
GAMES NOTES: The Old Dominion Monarchs will try to pick up a win for the first time in more than a month when they entertain the UCF Knights in a non- conference battle on Friday night.
UCF has won consecutive games after posting a 72-62 victory at home over Bethune-Cookman on Wednesday. The victory moved the Knights to 5-2 on the season, which includes a 1-1 mark on the road. However, both of those games took place in the state of Florida, with a win over South Florida (74-56) and a loss to Florida (79-66), meaning this is the first out-of-state game for the Knights. UCF won' be on the road long as it begins a seven-game homestand next Tuesday.
For Old Dominion, wins have been hard to come by. In fact, the Monarchs have yet to collect multiple victories (1-8). ODU has lost seven straight games since defeating Morgan State (72-61) for its only win of the season. What's even more troubling is that five of those losses have come on the Monarchs' home floor. This is the final contest of a three-game homestand for ODU, which takes on the College of Charleston next.
These two squads have split a pair of meetings in the past, and UCF won last season's affair with a 61-53 victory at home.
Every shot seemed to find the bottom of the net for UCF in its recent win over Bethune-Cookman, as the Knights shot at a blistering 61.5 percent clip. The Knights were less successful from the free throw line (5-of-15) and from beyond the arc (3-of-12), but with a 43-26 edge in rebounds they were able to control the boards, and the game. Keith Clanton had a stellar outing as he hit 14-of-15 field goal attempts to end with 30 points, and he grabbed 13 rebounds as well.
UCF is one of the most efficient offensive teams in the country. The Knights are connecting on 52.0 percent of their field goal attempts, which is the third-best mark nationally. Even though they fill it up at a remarkable rate, the Knights are averaging 71.6 ppg, which while respectable isn't exactly dominant. The Knights are allowing only 62.9 ppg on 40.1 percent shooting while holding a +7.5 edge on the boards. Clanton (17.4 ppg, 10.9 rpg) can be penciled in for a double-double just about every game. The 6-foot-9 forward has been extremely effective finishing around the rim as he converts 62.7 percent of his total shots. Isaiah Sykes 15.7 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 4.7 apg) fills up the stat sheet from the backcourt and is also connecting on a high percentage of his shots (.587). Tristan Spurlock (12.1 ppg, 6.0 rpg) and Kasey Wilson (11.6 ppg, 4.9 rpg) have also been productive players for UCF.
Old Dominion lost to in-state foe VCU, 83-70, in its most recent outing. The Monarchs led only twice in the game, with their last advantage (8-5) coming with 17:45 remaining in the first half. The Monarchs trailed by double digits for three quarters of the game and shot just 41.7 percent from the field while being outscored 33-9 from beyond the arc. DeShawn Painter did all he could, posting a 26-point, 10-rebound double-double in the losing effort.
One positive for Old Dominion this season has been its work on the glass. The Monarchs are the best rebounding team (40.1 pg) in the Colonial Athletic Association, laying claim to a rebounding margin of +7.7. However, ODU is scoring only 63.3 ppg while shooting at a lackluster 39.7 percent from the field. At the other end, the Monarchs are being lit up for 71.3 ppg on 46.3 field goal efficiency. Painter (10.2 ppg, 7.7 rpg) is the only player on the team averaging in double figures despite shooting just 40.2 percent from the floor. Keenan Palmore (8.7 ppg, 5.6 rpg) is the top shooter (.474) among players that log more than 20 minutes of playing time per game. Donte Hill (9.7 ppg) has the ability to score in double figures, but has hit on only 38.4 percent of his total shots.
For ODU, it has been a drastically different season than the ones in the recent past when the team won 20 games in seven of the last eight years. Poor offensive play has really doomed the Monarchs, and that will continue to prove fatal if they continue down that path against the efficient Knights.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UCF 74, Old Dominion 66
12/14 10:36:23 ET