Knights Must Turn the Page

The UCF basketball team had a measuring stick type of game on Saturday night against the mighty University of Florida Gators, and they came out battered and bruised, as the Gators took control of the ball game early on and cruised to an 89-61 victory.

Florida dominated in nearly every facet of the game, and as much of a mismatch as the Knights looked to be for Florida Tech at the UCF Arena a week ago seemed like as much of a mismatch as the Gators were for the Knights.

"I don't think we came out with a lot of intensity, freshman point guard A.J. Rompza said. "We saw them as Florida and we looked scared. You're not going to win basketball games when you play scared. I don't care who you play, if it's the best team in the country or it's a lower division I school. You have to come out and play hard against whoever you play."

Florida was bigger, more athletic, and just a much better basketball team. Gators guard Nick Calathes did a great job of defending Knights star Jermaine Taylor, and no other UCF player could get much going offensively or defensively.

"Jermaine Taylor is an unbelievable player," Florida guard Nick Calathes said. "I think we had to stop him and that was our game plan. We had to keep switching guys on him so he would get tired. He's the guy to stop and he makes their team flow."

There's no shame in losing to the University of Florida for any team, seemingly in any sport these days. The Knights have to try and learn from the loss and put all the bad feelings behind them, as they have another tough task ahead on Monday as Valparaiso visits the UCF Arena.

"We have to prepare for them just as we'd prepare for other teams and we have to kind of erase this one and don't think about it," A.J. Rompza said. "That's the game plan for Monday. I think it's really important to let this game go and focus on Monday."

The Valparaiso Crusaders handled the Knights with relative ease a month ago in a 69-52 victory in Indiana. The Knights shot just 30.4% from the field, and there really wasn't much offense for the team in black aside from Jermaine Taylor's 18 points.

"You can give a lot of credit to Valpo, they certainly came out with a lot of intensity," UCF head coach Kirk Speraw said following the game. "We had open looks, we had open layup opportunities. We just didn't execute. We played so antsy and fast. The guys kept working hard, but they have to be more exact and more fundamentally sound with what they do both offensively and defensively."

A certain advantage for the Knights against Valpo this time around will be the venue. The Knights have won all three games this year at the UCF Arena and are shooting nearly 52% from the field at home. The crowd may not be quite as large as usual due to the Christmas holiday, but there is expected to be a significant home court advantage.

"They hit us hard kind of like these guys did tonight," Knights head coach Kirk Speraw said. "They came out with a lot of energy and slapped us right away and got after us right away and we're going to have to be ready for that again. They had a pretty good game play against us before and I'm sure they'll come up with another good one. It will be a quick turnaround to make some quick adjustments and hopefully we play better against them than up at their place."

The Knights certainly don't want to drop two games in a row, and they definitely don't want to lose to the same team twice.

"Revenge I'd like, but it's another team on our schedule," Rompza said. "We have to look at them as they beat us and we'd like to get back at them."

You can see the Knights take on Valparaiso at 7 p.m. on Monday night at the UCF Arena.


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