The theme of the first four games for the Canes has been their slow starts, but on Thursday they were the early aggressors. Behind six early points by Donnavan Kirk the Canes jumped on top of UCF 9-4 three minutes into the game.
After that, the Knights went on a 15-4 run to take a 18-13 lead over Miami. The Canes went on a six-minute scoring drought during the span. Calvin Newell had 9 first half points for the Knights, all of which came during UCF's run.
The Knights were able to hold the Canes to 21 points in the first half and they had a 28-21 lead heading into the locker room in a sloppy first half.
UCF did a great job at keeping Miami off the foul line. Miami had one first half free throw and it was missed by Garrius Adams. UCF only had 5 free throws, but they dominated the paint in the half.
UCF was led by Newell's 9 points and Kasey Wilson chipped in with 7 points and 4 first half rebounds. For the Canes, Donnavan Kirk finished with 6 points and 4 rebounds in the first half, but was held scoreless for the last 16 minutes.
The start of the second half was a little different for the Canes, who shot 1-9 from downtown in the first stanza. The Canes went 4-for-9 from behind the arc in the second and it was lead by Davon Reed and Garrius Adams who sparked the comeback. Reed had 11 second half points and finished with a career-high 17 points on 7-9 shooting, while Adams finished with a game high 20. Kirk was held scoreless after his six early points.
Despite the Canes shooting a low percentage from the floor and getting absolutely pounded on the glass, they were still in the game. The Knights had a 56-52 lead with 2:42 to go and after a missed three-pointer by Rion Brown, Calvin Newell, who led the Knights with 19 points, connected on a layup to give the Knights a 6-point advantage. After an Adams layup, Isaiah Sykes, who finished with 11 points, split a couple of free throws to give UCF a 59-54 lead.
And then the drama started.
Rion Brown hit on a couple free-throws and then stole the ball and hit a layup to cut the Knights lead to 59-58 with 55.2 seconds left to go.
Reed made a freshman mistake and fouled before the ball was in-bounded and Newell went on to hit the first free-throw but then went on and missed the second to give the Knights a 60-58 lead. Then, Kirk got fouled on a shot attempt and went to the line with a chance to tie the game with 39 seconds.
Kirk missed them both and the Canes were forced to foul. Kasey Wilson later went on and split the two free-throws and UCF had a 61-58 lead.
Miami had a chance to cut it back to one or tie the game and then Garrius Adams slipped out-of-bounds with 26.8 left to play (there was contact on the play). And the Canes' chances were all but gone after that.
After a UCF timeout, Wilson leaked out for the Knights and tomahawked it to ice the win for the Knights.
The Good: Davon Reed and Garrius Adams. Reed had a career night and was the most consistent option for the Canes from behind the arc and Adams had his best game of the season, which hasn't started out so smoothly for the fifth-year senior.
The Bad: Rebounding and Three-point shooting. Manu LeComte has a tough outing.
The Ugly: The crowd at opening tip. It started filling up a little bit once the game started, but this program probably deserves a better crowd. I don't know if it was the rain, but it would be nice to have a home game with people filling up the stands.
- Attendance: 4,895