UCF didn’t play its prettiest game of the year, but the result at Fogelman Arena sure was positive. The Knights overcame an 11-point second-half deficit to post a Conference USA 65-62 victory over the Green Wave. The win was the second in a row for the Knights, who improved to 16-8 overall and 3-8 in league play.
Keith Clanton led the Knights with 18 points, and made some big plays towards the end of the game to help his team post its first C-USA road victory of the campaign.
Tulane led 52-45 with 11 minutes to play, but Clanton sparked a 13-3 run by scoring the Knights next eight points. His layup at the 6:46 mark tied the game at 53, and on UCF’s next possession, he kicked the ball out to A.J. Tyler who drained a triple to hand the Knights a 56-53 advantage.
The Green Wave (12-13, 2-10) tied the game at 58 with 2:13 to play when Jordan Callahan hit a three, but on the ensuing possession, Clanton found Isaac Sosa, who hit a triple. After a UCF stop on the defensive end, Marcus Jordan made the first two of four free throws down the stretch to secure the win for the Knights.
“It wasn’t pretty, and give Tulane a lot of credit,” UCF head coach Donnie Jones said. “The last four minutes of the game, we got stops when we needed them. That is what won us the game.”
For the majority of the contest, UCF allowed the Green Wave to score in a variety of ways. Tulane led 34-30 at the break on 53.8 percent shooting from the floor. But in the last 10 minutes, UCF limited Tulane to just four field goals, with two coming in the final 10 seconds when victory was already ensured for the Knights.
UCF used a full-court press late in the game that might not have caused any turnovers, but certainly got Tulane out of its rhythm.
The game was the first of three straight on the road for the Knights, who surpassed their victory total from a year ago with the win over the Green Wave.
Clanton shot 8-of-11 from the field, and led the Knights with three assists, including the two that led to big 3-pointers with the game on the line. Eleven of his 18 points came after intermission.
“I think I was just being aggressive, like coach wanted me to. In the first half, I was trying to take the game play-by-play, but in the second half I was more aggressive,” Clanton said.
Tyler totaled 12 points and Jordan and Sosa both finished with 10 points.
UCF shot 47.7 percent from the field and finished with a 32-22 edge on the glass. The Knights made 16-of-18 (88.9 percent) of their tries at the free-throw line.
Callahan paced the hosts with 19 points. The Green Wave shot 48.1 percent overall.