Gainesville, FL (Sports Network) - Sunshine State rivals square off on Friday
afternoon, as the UCF Knights come calling on the seventh-ranked Florida
UCF opened the 2012-13 season with three straight wins over South Florida
(74-56), Alabama State (85-56) and Savannah State (53-50). Feeling pretty good
about themselves, the Knights recently entertained Middle Tennessee on
Tuesday, and the Blue Raiders were up to the task as they prevailed in a 75-61
final. Still, at 3-1, UCF is confident it can make some serious noise in
Conference USA, and the Knights will play their first league game of the
season at home against UAB on Jan. 9, 2013.
Florida has won all four of its games to this point in the campaign, with the
biggest being a 74-56 rout of No. 22 Wisconsin at home on Nov. 14. The team's
other victories have come against the likes of Alabama State (84-35), Middle
Tennessee (66-45) and Savannah State (58-40). Billy Donovan has once again
assembled a team of talented players, who are looking forward to taking on all
comers, including those in the SEC who plan to challenge them for the league
title this season. Florida will take on non-conference foes Marquette, Florida
State, Arizona and Kansas State before opening its league ledger at home
against Georgia on Jan. 9, 2013.
Florida has won nine of the previous 10 meetings in the series with UCF, with
the Knights' lone victory coming in the most recent encounter, 57-54, on Dec.
1, 2010 in Orlando.
UCF allowed an average of 54 ppg in its first three outings, all wins, but
surrendered 75 points in the recent loss to Middle Tennessee. The Knights shot
43.5 percent from the floor in that contest, but watched as the Blue Raiders
dropped 50.0 percent of their total shots, including 9-of-17 from three-point
range. The game was only as close as it was because MT went a dismal 10-of-22
from the free throw line. Tristan Spurlock led UCF with 17 points and eight
rebounds, while Keith Clanton added 15 points, the same number of boards and
he handed out half of the team's 14 assists. Through four games, Isaiah Sykes
(17.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 5.0 apg) heads the Knights' scoring list, and Clanton
(17.0 ppg, 11.8 rpg, 3.3 apg, 2.8 bpg) and Spurlock (13.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg) join
him to form a productive trio. The team as a whole is hitting 48.7 percent of
its field goal attempts in averaging 68.2 ppg. Foes are shooting just 40.7
percent from the floor, and the Knights own a +6.8 rebounding margin, but are
-2.5 in turnovers.
Florida's defensive effort thus far has been exceptional, as foes are netting
just 44.0 ppg in connecting on only 30.8 percent of their field goal attempts,
which includes a dismal 25.9 percent showing from three-point range. At the
offensive end, the Gators are producing 70.5 ppg in draining 47.4 percent of
their total shots, which includes a 38.0 percent effort from beyond the arc.
They are +9.8 in rebounding margin, +2.3 in turnover, and there are four
players averaging double figures in the scoring column, led by Kenny Boynton
with his 14.3 ppg. Eric Murphy (13.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg), Mike Rosario (12.8 ppg,
3.0 apg) and Patic Young (10.5 ppg) round out the quartet, with Young and Will
Yeguete heading the unit's effort on the glass with 8.0 and 8.5 rpg,
respectively. UF struggled against Savannah State the last time out, in that
the team shot just 35.4 percent from the field, although its 42.9 percent
showing from downtown was certainly respectable. Fortunately, the Gators were
on top of their game once again at the defensive end, forcing 20 turnover and
holding their overmatched opponent to 34.8 percent field goal efficiency.
The Sports Network