Knights Beat Bison

Following an emotional win over UMass, the Knights came back down to earth as they beat Howard 68-59 in a sloppy contest.

After an energy-filled win over a talented UMass team on Friday, UCF (2-0) suffered somewhat of a hangover against a woeful Howard (0-2) squad but the Knights still managed to defeat the Bison, 68-59.

The Knights struggled to find a rhythm early on, as the team began the game by going 0-of-3 from the field with two turnovers, prompting a five man substitution.

"We needed to execute a little better offensively than what we did, but (Howard is) a sound basketball team," said UCF head coach Kirk Speraw.

With the starters out, freshman Keith Clanton provided an immediate offensive spark for UCF, scoring while drawing a foul on a baseline layup.

Clanton proved to be physically mature beyond his years for the second straight game, which was validated by his 10 point, 10 rebound and three block performance.

UCF Arena, which was at near capacity last week, finally livened up some at the end of the first half. The Knights were hanging on to 25-17 lead that was created mostly by Clanton's near double-double at the time (10 points, nine rebounds) when David Diakite streaked through the lane to rebound a Taylor Young misfire. Without touching the ground, Diakite snagged the ball in mid-air and slammed it home, causing his teammates and the crowd to erupt. Within the next minute, the Knights made two three-pointers to take a 31-20 lead to finish the first half.

"I was just trying to get as many offensive rebounds as possible," said Diakite. "Everything that went up, I just tried to follow it up."

Diakite's energy was evident again, as he finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds, with seven of those boards coming on the offensive end.

With some momentum on their side entering the second half, the Knights were looking to break the game open following a Isaac Sosa three pointer, but the pesky Bison kept hanging around. Led by last year's leading scorer, Calvin Thompson, Howard cut UCF's lead to 38-32 with 17 minutes remaining in the game. Thompson led the Bison with 15 points.

Slowly but surely, UCF proved to be resilient and the Knights matched Howard shot for shot as the game progressed. Taylor Young led the way for the Knights in the second half with 15 points. Isaac Sosa also chipped in with 14 points, following a 26 point performance against UMass.

Howard's late game run only brought them within seven points and the Knights walked away with an easy victory, although there will be plenty to work on as the Knights shot below 38 percent from the field.

UCF will head to Daytona Beach to continue the Glenn Wilkes Classic on Friday as they take on Auburn at 6 p.m.

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