Colorado 96, Central Florida 87

Led by freshman point guard Kal Bay's career-high 21 points, Colorado shook off the rust from not playing a game for nearly a month and defeated visiting Central Florida on Wednesday, 96-87.

Kal Bay came into Wednesday's game averaging 6.8 points an outing. The freshman from Tempe, Ariz., had hit just 30.2 percent of his field goals. But against Central Florida, Bay had the green light and hit five of 10 shots, all from beyond the arc. He was a perfect 6 of 6 from the foul line, as well.

"I played off the other guys," Bay said. "(Marcus King-Stockton) was drawing double teams and I had open shots. I'll continue to do that as long as it's there."

Indeed, King-Stockton, the 6-9 junior forward was drawing UCF's attention because King-Stockton was having one of his better offensive games in recent memory. He had 18 points to go along with four rebounds in 30 minutes of play.

Head coach Ricardo Patton had challenged King-Stockton recently in practice to be more aggressive with the ball in his hands. MKS responded by hitting 7 of 9 from the field.

"He still has just scratched the surface," Patton said. "He has a lot more to give."

King-Stockton and Bay weren't the only Buffs who had good games on offense as six Colorado players scored in double figures, and the Buffs shot 52.9 percent from the floor.

Not a bad effort for a Colorado team that had not played a game since Dec. 9 after two games were cancelled over the holiday break due to bad weather.

Though they looked in fine condition, the Buffs took a while to find their rhythm. CU trailed Central Florida (10-3) until Bay hit a trey at the 7:36 mark. Thirty-five seconds later, Bay drained another three and the Buffs were up by five. UCF wouldn't wither, though, and CU led 38-37 at the break.

Colorado employed a full-court trap defense midway through the first and much of the second half. Though it didn't lead directly to any turnovers, it slowed the Golden Knights. Still UCF managed to take a two-point lead, 72-70, at the 7:27 mark in the second. Patton called a timeout and challenged his team.

CU came into the game with a 3-6 record. Three of its losses — each at home — could have gone either way down the stretch, and the Buffs had failed to hang tough leading to marks in the loss column. Not this time.

"It was time for us to grow up," Patton said of the timeout talk. "We had a run left in us. We challenged the guys to step up and they responded."

Colorado outscored UCF 26-15 the rest of the way. Much of that came at the foul line. The second half was slowed tremendously by fouls — UCF ended with 31 penalties, CU with 22. The Buffs hit 36 of 45 foul shots. That's 80 percent, a full 15 percent better than they'd been doing the first nine games.

Still, the Buffs' game was far, far from perfect. Perimeter defense was slow at times, and UCF responded by hitting 12 three-pointers. Colorado was also outrebounded by four on the offensive glass.

But the win was just what the doctor ordered for a team that had struggled to find itself before a long and unexpected time away from playing an opponent.

"We needed to get out of practice (and play a game)," King-Stockton said.

The win also gives Colorado a little momentum heading into Saturday's Big 12 opener at home against Texas (2 p.m.).

Bay, King-Stockton, Xavier Silas, Richard Roby and Jermyl Jackson-Wilson drew the starts Wednesday. Jeremy Williams, who had started the past four games, played well off the bench, grabbing four boards and adding 10 points in 15 minutes. …Roby is still not out of a season-long slump, but he had flashes of the old Roby. He was 5 of 11 and had 14 points. He sat much of the first half with two fouls, and fouled out of the game with just over 1:20 left. …While the Buffs played the full-court press much of the game, they didn't resemble a "40 Minutes of Hell" type of team that had been hinted at the past two weeks.

Stat Leaders
Points: Kal Bay 21
Rebounds: Xavier Silas 7
Assists: Bay 6
Turnovers: Jermyl Jackson-Wilson, Silas 5
Blocks: Silas, King-Stockton 1
Steals: Bay 3

Central Florida
Points: Josh Peppers, Jermaine Taylor 22
Rebounds: Tony Davis 6
Assists: Mike O'Donnell 6
Turnovers: Lavell Payne, O'Donnell 4
Blocks: none
Steals: O'Donnell 3

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