Jacksonville (2-7) at U-C-F (8-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, December 30th, 7:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: New UCF Arena (10,000) -- Orlando, Florida. Television: None. Home Record: Jacksonville 0-1, UCF 6-0. Away Record: Jacksonville 1-6, UCF 0-3. Neutral Record: Jacksonville 1-0, UCF 2-1. Conference Record: Jacksonville 0-2, UCF 0-0. Series Record: Series is tied, 11-11.
GAME NOTES: The UCF Knights gun for their fourth straight Holiday Classic title tonight, as they host the Jacksonville Dolphins in the finals in Orlando.
The Knights had no trouble in their first-round game of this event last night, trouncing Liberty by an 82-58 score. The triumph snapped a short two-game slide and pushed the team to 8-4 overall and 6-0 at home. UCF is now 9-2 all- time in this tourney and seeking its fourth championship in a row.
As for the Dolphins, they jump-started this event last night with a surprising 83-73 victory over Buffalo. The win put a stop to a brief two-game skid and lifted Jacksonville to 2-7 on the campaign.
Jacksonville and UCF were former Atlantic Sun rivals, so the teams do have a history against one another. The all-time series between the foes is tied at 11-11, with the Knights costing to a 99-62 victory in the most recent meeting in 2006.
The Dolphins shot an efficient 51.0 percent from the floor, including a 9- of-18 showing from downtown, as they downed Buffalo on Tuesday. Jacksonville also did a nice job at the foul line, where it went 22-of-28. Ben Smith led the way with 23 points and he went 5-of-8 from downtown and 4-of-5 at the line. Ayron Hardy added 16 points and eight boards, while Travis Cohn posted 15 points. For the season, Smith leads the club in scoring at 17.4 ppg and he is shooting 37.5 percent from three-point distance. Cohn chips in with 10.1 ppg and he is the only other player scoring in double figures for the Dolphins.
The Knights held Liberty to a dismal 33.3 percent shooting effort from the floor and dominated the boards, 47-31, en route to a lopsided win last night. UCF itself, hit on 51.9 percent from the field, including 7-of-16 from beyond the arc. Isaac Sosa and A.J. Tyler scored 13 points apiece to pace a balanced attack, while A.J. Rompza had 12 points and five assists. On the season, Sosa tops the squad in scoring at 12.1 ppg and he is a 49.2 percent three-point shooter. Tyler is second at 11.3 ppg and he is also collecting 4.3 rpg.
UCF is the more talented team here and playing at home should only help its chances of defeating Jacksonville tonight.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UCF 79, Jacksonville 65
12/30 10:32:03 ET