UCF rolls over D-II Tampa, 97-72
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP)
It was the season opener for the Knights, who also got 16 points and seven rebounds from senior Tristan Spurlock.
Tampa, a Division II program, played the game as an exhibition. The Spartans were led by Da'Marco Foster with 25 points. Austin Rettig was the only other Tampa player in double figures with 18.
The Knights started slowly, allowing three straight 3-pointers by Rettig that gave Tampa a 13-9 lead, before over-running the Spartans at both ends of the court.
UCF went on a 24-2 run that included a pair of 3-pointers by Matt Williams and ended with a driving layup from Spurlock that made it 33-15 with 8:06 left in the half.
The Knights didn't allow a basket for nine straight minutes. The Spartans' only points were free throws from Jason Brown and Ryan Kidd. Fred Lewis finally ended the drought with a layup that made it 33-17 with 7:42 left in the half.
The lead eventually grew to 54-27 by halftime with Spurlock (13 points), Newell (13) and Sykes (11) already in double figures.
The second half was about stats for both teams as the competition was one-sided and stayed that way. The closest Tampa came, if you can call a 24-point deficit close, was 63-39 on a layup by Vincent Cornu with 13:58 left in the game.
Newell and Sykes responded with back-to-back baskets in the next 30 seconds and the brief rally was quickly over.
From there, both sides made token efforts defensively and lots of 3-points attempts and lobs-for-dunks offensively. This being the first game of the season, none of it was very effective, but it didn't have to be.
UCF shot 57.6 percent from the field and got points from 10 of the 11 players who appeared in the game. The lone negative for the Knights was hitting just eight of 23 (34.8 percent) from 3-point territory, most of which were wide open looks.