Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

USF Bulls defeat UCF Knights 69-65 in basketball

TAMPA — If Stan Heath was worried about his team's rebounding, this was certainly how to rebound.

Coming off a frustrating loss to Central Michigan, with a starting guard gone because of a family illness and left with seven scholarship players, the USF coach saw his team build a lead and stay in control, pulling out a solid 69-65 win against Central Florida in front of a season-high 4,627 in the Sun Dome on Wednesday.

"I didn't know who that team was on Sunday, so I was a little shaken, taken aback," Heath said after his team improved to 8-2. "Sometimes you're going to have a tough loss, a bad loss, and more than anything, you want to see your team respond. We did."

Junior guard Dominique Jones was dominant, piling up 27 points, with five steals and six rebounds. In one sequence, he blocked a dunk, then hit a 3-pointer.

UCF coach Kirk Speraw called him "one of the best guards in the country."

"He's unselfish. He gets a lot of points, but he also distributes the basketball," Speraw said. "He scores in so many ways. He's phenomenal in transition. Obviously he stepped up and had another big game against us. We don't have an answer for him at all."

More important, USF had a supporting cast around him. Point guard Chris Howard hit a 3-pointer on the first possession, finishing with 14 points and six assists, and guard Mike Mercer scored USF's first five points of the second half on the way to 12, with four assists.

The Bulls outrebounded UCF 38-27, holding the Knights to five offensive rebounds and just two in the second half. USF center Jarrid Famous — who had totaled one rebound in 32 minutes Sunday, prompting Heath to say "a dead man can almost get that" — had nine boards in the first half, finishing with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

"He was like Lazarus. He just rose from the dead," Heath joked. "I thought he responded in a big way. He set the tone with the rebounding. He was a warrior (Wednesday). He had stitches in his eye, cramps in his legs, knee bruises, and like a boxer, he got taped up and went back in."

The most impressive line of the night might have been senior walk-on guard Ryan Kardok, who hit a 3-pointer for his first career points and played 20 minutes, one fewer than he'd totaled in the first nine games.

"This guy right here did a terrific job," Heath said. "I've been kicking myself for the last year, saying 'Man, this guy's consistent, he's smart, makes shots, I need to play him.' I've never pulled the trigger until what I had to do (Wednesday). It's almost a blessing in disguise."

UCF (7-3) got a season-high 11 points from freshman guard Marcus Jordan, the son of NBA legend Michael Jordan. Palm Harbor's A.J. Tyler added eight points but just one rebound in 30 minutes.

USF has finished a five-game home stand and heads to Las Vegas, where it will play San Francisco and San Diego.

USF Bulls defeat UCF Knights 69-65 in basketball 12/16/09 [Last modified: Thursday, December 17, 2009 12:00am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tim Tebow Week: 12 stories from his Tampa Bay tour


    Alas, Tim Tebow Week — eight baseball games in eight nights that reunited Tebow with his Tampa Bay friends and admirers — is over. The fun ended Thursday night.

    St. Lucie Mets outfielder Tim Tebow meets fans and signs autographs before the beginning of the Mets at Threshers game at Spectrum Field on Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017 in Clearwater. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times

  2. Bucs journal: Kicker Nick Folk has up and downs against Jaguars


    JACKSONVILLE — If the Bucs had hoped for a drama-free night in their kicking game, they'll have to wait another week.

    Bucs kicker Nick Folk celebrates one of his two made field goals against the Jaguars, but he also misses a field goal and has an extra point blocked.
  3. Bucs top Jaguars behind strong first half



    There is a reason why the air in Tampa Bay is filled with playoff talk. If Thursday night's 12-8 Bucs preseason win over the Jaguars is any indication, it's also going to be filled with footballs thrown by quarterback Jameis Winston.

    Doug Martin gets the Bucs’ only touchdown  on a 2-yard run, squeaking past linebacker Telvin Smith in the first quarter. He has five carries for 30 yards.
  4. Rays journal: Archer has strong outing, with two mistakes

    The Heater

    TORONTO — Two pitches RHP Chris Archer didn't execute are the ones that stood out Thursday as Josh Donaldson hit them out of the park. But the two solo home runs aside, Archer turned in a sterling outing that went atop the pile of good pitching the Rays keep wasting.

    Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) works during the first inning. [Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP]
  5. Tim Tebow continues wowing fans as he wraps up bay area games


    CLEARWATER — Tracey Fritzinger has seen Tim Tebow play baseball a few times this year. The 40-year-old St. Petersburg resident went to two of his games against the Tampa Yankees, along with Joy, her little sister from Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

    St. Lucie Mets outfielder Tim Tebow, middle, hangs out in the dugout during Thursday night’s game against the Clearwater Threshers at Spectrum Field, the last of St. Lucie’s eight-day trip to the Tampa Bay area.