Goodbye A.J., P.J.

Goodbye A.J., P.J.

Bryan Levine / Valencia Voice

An emotional moment for senior A.J. Rompza during the pre-game ceremony where he and P.J. Gaynor were honored for Senior Night.

It was fitting for guard A.J. Rompza to have his best game as a Knight in what was the last time he will play at the UCF Arena.

Rompza had a double-double with 11 points and 10 assists as the Knights defeated the University of Alabama-Birmingham Blazing Dragons 71-68 Saturday night, to sweep the season series in front of a nearly sold out crowd.

“Everyone gets caught up in senior night. I told the guys that once the beginning was over after me and PJ had our time that we had a game to win,” said Rompza.

In a game that wasn’t nearly as close as the final score indicated, the Knights clearly dominated, shooting 49 percent from the field and holding the Dragons to a mere 38 percent as the Knights were able to send off their two seniors, Rompza and forward PJ Gaynor (6 points, 1 block), with a victory.

The night wasn’t all about the seniors though, Junior forward Keith Clanton (22 points, six rebounds) was on the receiving end of many of Rompza’s assists including a spectacular play when Rompza drove to the basket and drew a double team before kicking the ball out to Clanton for a wide open three.

Sophomore forward Isaiah Sykes as well benefited from Rompza’s play scoring nine points including an ally-oop from Rompza that drew massive cheers from the crowd.

The Knights started the game on a hot streak from beyond the arch, converting on four of their first five and hitting on 10 of 17 three pointers in the first half which helped them build a 20 point lead heading into halftime. Junior guard Marcus Jordan leading the team in three’s converting on 4 of 5 three point shots in the first half and finishing with 13 points on the night.

With the win, the Knights secured a top four spot in the Conference-USA tournament and giving them a first-round by in the tournament.

“The goal is always to win and get a bye, its better to play three games in three days than four in four games we could use the extra days rest,” said UCF head coach Donnie Jones.