Whatever head coach Donnie Jones told the team at halftime worked because the UCF Knights were a completely different team in the second half from the one that played so poorly in the final ten minutes of the first half. The Knights owned every aspect of the second half for 15 minutes until Marshall went into rally mode that quickly became beast mode. UCF was up 14 points with 3:06 to go and then started raining three’s while the Knights tried to run clock and the game was 62-60 with just 16 seconds left. The Knights had to run an out-of-bounds play with just two seconds on the shot clock but Marcus Jordan was able to get off a 3-point shot just before the shot clock buzzer to give UCF a five-point lead with 14 seconds remaining and UCF was able to hold on for a 67-60 win at home.
UCF had four players in double figures tonight led by Keith Clanton who scored 20 on 8 of 16 shooting. Marcus Jordan, after an ice-cold first half, finished with 15 points while Isaiah Sykes also added 15 and Tristan Spurlock scored 13.
As a team, the Knights shot 46 percent from the floor while holding Marshall to just 39 percent shooting. The Knights allowed the Thundering Herd to rally thanks to poor free throw shooting as they were just 12 of 21 from the stripe. UCF did win the battle of the boards 40 to 36, which is notable as Marshall leads the nation in rebounding. The Knights won the battle of the paint 40 to 24 and had 20 second chance points tonight compared to 16 and 6 for Marshall.
Marshall’s DeAndre Kane deserves a ton of credit for even showing up tonight less than 24 hours after the sudden passing of his father. He was able to be a factor in the first half but was a non-factor in the second half and missed three crucial free throws as Marshall tried to rally back including airballing one. His teammates rallied their hearts out to try to give him a win to lift his spirits, but fell short in the end.