UCF Knights topple Wildcats

UCF Knights topple Wildcats

Courtesy of UCF Athletics

Keith Clanton scored a career high 30 points going 14-15 from the field.

ORLANDO — Keith Clanton set a new career high with 30 points, as the University of Central Florida Knights beat the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats 72-62 on Wednesday night at the UCF Arena.

Clanton had one of his best games of the season so far, going 14-15 shooting from the field, which was good for 30 points. He also had 13 rebounds and four assists on the night.

UCF started the game on a 7-0 run, before Bethune-Cookman’s Javoris Bryant earned the Wildcats their first bucket of the night. The Knights never trailed Bethune-Cookman, after taking a 2-0 lead on a Keith Clanton layup 15 seconds into the game.

In the first half, Clanton had 18 points on nine shots as UCF went into the locker room at halftime leading 38-28.

“I felt like I was getting a lot of open looks,” said Clanton. “ I had a lot of times where the guards passed it off to me and I feel like when I did make a move, I was making a strong move.”

Junior guard Calvin Newell scored his first points as a UCF Knights with 15:34 left in the first half. Newell was playing in his first game of the season Wednesday, after sitting out a year following his transfer from the University of Oklahoma.

Newell finished the game with two points, while going 1-8 shooting from the floor.

“He was in between ‘should I shoot or should I pass’ on every possession,” said UCF head coach Donnie Jones on Newell’s performance. “It will just take him sometime, which I knew it would.”

The Knights went on a 16-6 run to start the second half, which extended their lead to 54-34 with 15 minutes left to play in the game.

Bethune-Cookman threatened UCF’s lead late in the game, but a three-pointer by freshman guard Matt Williams killed the Wildcats momentum.

Clanton finished the night with a new career high in points with 30, while also collecting 13 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season.

“I was happy with Keith Clanton,” said Jones. “I thought Keith had a good night. That was the mismatch we needed to focus on tonight.”

Tristan Spurlock ended the night with ten points and 11 rebounds, as he got his first double-double of the season on Wednesday.

UCF finished the game shooting 61.5% from the floor, as the improved their record to 5-2 with the 72-62 win over the Wildcats. UCF was playing their first game in 11 days due to final exams.

The Knights went 5-15 from the free-throw line, with no players shooting over 50 percent from the line.

“A sign of fatigue is missing free throws at the end of the game,” said Jones. “I think we missed eight in a row down the stretch.”

The Knights will now travel to Old Dominion on Friday, Dec. 14, before returning home to face in-state rival University of Miami on Tuesday, Dec. 18 at 8 p.m.