Tallahassee, FL – The UCF Knights will try to build on their opening win in Tallahassee tonight, taking on the Florida State conference action.
UCF took care of business in its season-opener on Friday night, dismantling Saint Thomas 74-61. UCF didn't pull away until the second half, but set a school mark in blocks and displayed a number of players who can score. The win marked the ninth season-opening victory for UCF, which will return home on Friday night to host High Point.
Florida State's 79-67 win over Jacksonville in its first game featured a solid offensive and defensive effort from the Seminoles, as well as boasted a couple of breakout performances. The Seminoles, who were selected to finish third in the ACC in the preseason polls, have a busy start to the season - playing three games in five days. After its matchup with UCF, Florida State will stay home to host Stetson on Wednesday.
Florida State leads the all-time series with UCF, 8-0. The two teams have not played since 1988.
Keith Clanton led UCF in its win over Saint Thomas, scoring 18 points on 6- of-12 shooting. Three other UCF players posted double figures in scoring; Isaiah Sykes had 15, and Rod Days and Tristan Spurlock had 14 and 12, respectively, as UCF shot 50 percent from the field (22-of-44). It was the freshman debut for both Days and Spurlock, with both players playing over 30 minutes in the contest. Clanton added six blocks, and Sykes had six assists and six rebounds, but also turned the ball over six times on a night when UCF committed 20 turnovers. Still, UCF looked polished on both ends of the floor. The Knights recorded a school-record 14 blocks, won the rebounding battle 35-32, and forced the Bobcats to commit 22 turnovers of their own.
Michael Snaer scored 16 points and added five rebounds for the Seminoles against Jacksonville, and two players off the bench - Deividas Dulkys and Terrance Shannon - gave Florida State prime contributions. Dulkys scored 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting (including 4-of-7 from three-point range), while Shannon had perhaps the best all-around game for Florida State, scoring 15 points to complement 12 rebounds. It was the first double-double for Shannon. Florida State held Jacksonville to 42.4 percent shooting, including just 12- of-33 in the first half. The Dolphins didn't score a point until over five minutes into the game.
Its hard to gauge how good UCF is early in the season based on its first win over Saint Thomas, but if one thing is for certain, this will be an aggressive team at both ends of the floor, judging by the offensive balance and the block party it had against the Bobcats. Florida State meanwhile, is traditionally a very strong defensive club which showed in the opener that it has depth. If it gets more scoring production from the starting lineup against UCF, chalk it as a 2-0 start for the Seminoles.