The Knights finished up a seven game home stand Wednesday night with a 64-48 victory over the UAB Blazers in their first Conference USA matchup of the season. Calvin Newell led the offensive charge with 14 points, and Keith Clanton put on an all-around show with another double-double that included a team high 13 rebounds and 5 blocks.
On a night when UCF looked evenly match in many facets of the game, the key to victory lay with superior accuracy from the floor and accuracy from the free throw line as well. While the Knights posted a pedestrian 42% shooting average on the evening, UAB looked lost on the court by sinking only 26% of their shots.
Even more concerning for the Blazers was that they missed every three-point shot attempted, going 0-23, and lost by 24 points even after creating 25 more shooting opportunities than UCF. Had UAB been able to convert more shots, the final outcome would be drastically different, as the offense was averaging an impressive 76 points per contest headed into the game.
Coach Jones wasn’t discouraged in the slightest after the game about his team’s play, claiming that now that conference play is beginning, “There is no playing pretty anymore… every position is a grind.”
Keith Clanton, who has been the focal point of the offense all year, managed to take just four shots from the floor, and missed only his lone three point attempt. However, the big man looked great taking advantage of free throw opportunities, sinking all six attempts for 12 points on the day.
The total put Clanton at 1,500 points and 500 rebounds for his career, making him only the fourth Knight to ever do so. Clanton was more concerned about the victory after the game however, laying out big plans for the season, stating “It’s a good accomplishment, but I’m happier the team won because we know we have a goal to win the Conference Championship.”
With the battle for the conference now in full swing, UCF will begin a two game road trip that kicks off Saturday night at 7:00 p.m. in Greenville, NC against the East Carolina Pirates (9-5).