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Photo by: Isaac Babcock - UCF forward A.J. Tyler goes airborne for a dunk during the Knights' rout of Rice on Saturday night, their first conference game.
Winter Park / Maitland Observer Thursday, Jan. 14, 2010 8 years ago

Knights ground Owls in blowout

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by: Isaac Babcock Managing Editor

The Knights are on their way in conference play, with a big win over Rice in the UCF Arena to start the second half of the season.

"If you want to stay at the top of this conference you have to take care of your business at home," Knights coach Kirk Speraw said after the game.

And the Knights did just that, dominating the Owls the whole game, leading by double digits for three quarters on their way to a 77-58 blowout.

UCF forward Keith Clanton had a career game, shooting 17 points to help lead his team to victory, pushed by Speraw's edict that he should play more aggressively as a power forward. Though he'd frequently led the team in scoring, he turned his shooting up a notch, even taking shots from the outside. He would drain two 3-pointers in the game. He also took command under the basket, stealing away some balls that could have easily resulted in Owls' offensive rebounds.

A.J. Rompza also maintained pressure on the court, scoring 13 points, adding 6 assists, 5 steals and 5 rebounds.

The win was UCF's (9-6) first in the conference this year, giving them a good start in their C-USA debut game. Rice, on the other hand, lost its second, and its sixth road game.

Despite the big win, some weak points were revealed that the Knights will need to mend. Rice dominated under the basket, particularly on UCF's end of the court, where they frequently picked up uncontested rebounds and swiped the ball from the hands of surprised Knights.

A tenacious Marcus Jordan managed to pick up two steals for the Knights, also scoring four points.

The Knights return to the court Wednesday against Marshall at 8 p.m. The Thundering Herd is 2-0 in conference play and 13-2 overall.

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