UCF Prevails Over Florida Tech In Exhibition
By Space Coast Daily // December 2, 2012
FIT Coach Sees Positives From Defeat
ORLANDO, FLORIDA – Florida Tech showed flashes of strong play against the University of Central Florida on Saturday, but the Knights prevailed with a 90-62 win in front of 4,125 fans at UCF Arena in Orlando.
The game was an exhibition for the Panthers and a regular-season contest for the Knights, who snap a two-game winless streak and improve to 4-2 on the season.
Julius Reid led all scorers with 22 points, 12 were recorded behind the arc as he finished 4-of-8 from downtown, while playing all 40 minutes. This week’s Sunshine State Conference Player of the Week Chris Carter had 14 points and a game-high four steals. Jermaine Jackson rounded out the Panthers in double figures with 12.
Bryant Willis, a freshman from Margate, came off the bench to pull down a team-high seven rebounds, four were offensive boards. After not playing the first four games of the season due to injury, Cameron Stahl played 18 minutes. Coincidentally, he played alongside his brother Nick Stahl, a freshman transfer from UCF, for the first time in their college careers.
“I saw a lot of positives tonight,” head coach Billy Mims said. “We played great in the first half. We were down by nine at the break and I actually thought we should have been winning. We came out a lot better, played smarter and played harder. We outscored them in the paint, 36-32. They’re a bigger, stronger team, but the fact that we outscored them in the paint is a testament to our guys.
“We played really hard, smart and made good decisions. We only turned the ball over 11 times and forced 22 turnovers. We also had 14 steals and they had seven. Statistically, for a very young basketball team, we did some really good things.”
The Knights led by as many as 14 points in the opening half following a layup by Conference USA Preseason Player of the Year Keith Clanton. The Panthers had several good looks in the opening 11 minutes, but UCF’s defense did not allow them to settle into a flow. To make the game even more challenging, Carter, FIT’s leading scorer on the season, accumulated three fouls in the first seven minutes and sat on the bench the remainder of the half.
Despite trailing 23-9, FIT cut it to five on back-to-back-to-back layups by Reid, Jackson and Nick Stahl. Isaiah Sykes, however, gave the Knights momentum heading into the locker room with a jumper inside the arc in the final second. At the break, they held at 38-29 lead.
The Knights did not let up in the second half. Matt Williams Jr., who hadn’t played in UCF’s first five games, hit 7-of-9 three-pointers in the period and finished with 21 points.
“[UCF] shot 23 free throws and we shot six,” Mims said. “They made 12 free throws and we made five. They also made 14 three-pointers and we made seven. The difference in the game was their outside shooting and their free throws made.”
The Panthers won the points off turnovers stat, 28-10. Both teams scored 19 second-chance points, and UCF finished with a slight advantage in fast break points, 8-6.
FIT will resume its regular-season schedule on Saturday, Dec. 8, against DeVry University’s Miramar Campus. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m. at the Clemente Center. Following the game, FIT’s women’s team will host Albany State at 4 p.m.