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Rocky start sends Knights to first loss

Houston’s Alandise Harris blocks a shot by UCF’s Keith Clanton during the second half of the Knights’ 76-71 loss.

Associated Press

Houston’s Alandise Harris blocks a shot by UCF’s Keith Clanton during the second half of the Knights’ 76-71 loss.

HOUSTON — Central Florida made one last determined rush to try to preserve its unbeaten season.

In the end, the hole was just too big.

Sophomore forward Kirk Van Slyke scored 15 of his 17 in the first eight minutes Saturday as Houston built a big early lead then held off No.  19 UCF 76-71, handing the Knights their first loss of the season.

"They came out and played at a really high level, and we didn't match their intensity," UCF coach Donnie Jones said. "They made shots, and that's what you've got to do to upset teams."

Keith Clanton and Tom Herzog each scored 13 for UCF (14-1, 1-1 C-USA). Leading scorer Marcus Jordan, son of former NBA great Michael Jordan, was held to 10.

Strong shooting and pressure defense gave Houston control from the start as Van Slyke led the Cougars to a 22-8 lead.

Jordan, meanwhile, missed his first five field goals as frustration mounted. He tangled for a loose ball with Houston's Darian Thibodeaux midway through the first half, and both had to be restrained by their teammates.

Down 36-21 at the half, the Knights returned from the locker room with more intensity on defense and pulled within five with 13:24 left.

"In those first five minutes of the second half, we knew they'd respond," first-year Houston coach James Dickey said.

Van Slyke quickly got into foul trouble and went to the bench for most of the half. Still, the Cougars bounced back, and a fastbreak dunk by Maurice McNeil gave them an 11-point lead with 3:16 left. UCF pulled within three with nine seconds left, but Houston held on.

The Knights had a season-low six assists and finished 15-of-40 from the field, including 1-of-9 from 3-point range.

"We've got to learn from this, and I think we will," Jones said.

NO. 4 SYRACUSE 61, SETON HALL 56: Kris Joseph had 17 points and Brandon Triche had all 15 of his in the second half to lead the visiting Orange (16-0, 3-0 Big East).

NO. 5 PITT 89, MARQUETTE 81: Ashton Gibbs had 19 points and Brad Wanamaker led a first-half surge in which the host Panthers (15-1, 3-0 Big East) rapidly opened a 16-point lead.

NO. 6 SAN DIEGO ST. 71, UTAH 62: Kawhi Leonard had 20 points, D.J. Gay hit four 3-pointers in the second half and the visiting Aztecs (17-0, 2-0 Mountain West) survived a scare.

NO. 8 UCONN 82, NO. 12 TEXAS 81, OT: Kemba Walker, the nation's leading scorer who had been contained most of the game, made a desperate from-the-hip 3-pointer then hit the winner from about 15 feet with five seconds left in overtime to lift the visiting Huskies (12-2) over the Longhorns (12-3).

COLO. 89, NO. 9 MISSOURI 76: Alec Burks had a career-high 36 points for the host Buffaloes, who won their last Big 12 opener before joining the Pac-12 and beat the Tigers (14-2, 0-1) for the first time in 10 games.

uga 77, NO. 10 KENTUCKY 70: Trey Thompkins had 25 points as host Georgia won its ninth straight and snapped a seven-game winning streak by the Wildcats (12-3) in an SEC opener.

W. VA. 65, NO. 13 G'TOWN 59: Casey Mitchell had 28 points and the Mountaineers forced 18 turnovers by the host Hoyas (12-4, 1-3), off to their worst Big East start since 2003-04.

NO. 14 NOTRE DAME 76, ST. JOHN'S 61: Ben Hansbrough had 12 of his 26 points from 3-point range as the host Irish (14-2, 3-1 Big East) ended the Red Storm's five-game winning streak.

NO. 15 BYU 76, AIR FORCE 66: Jimmer Fredette had 22 points for the host Cougars (16-1, 2-0 Mountain West), and Jackson Emery tied Danny Ainge as the school's career steals leader with 195.

NO. 16 TEXAS A&M 69, OKLA. 51: Khris Middleton had 16 points as the visiting Aggies (14-1) won their 11th straight game in their Big 12 opener.

OKLA. ST. 76, NO. 17 KAN. ST. 62: Jean-Paul Olukemi had a career-high 22 points in his Big 12 debut and fueled a big second-half run as the host Cowboys beat the Wildcats (12-4, 0-1) for the second straight year.

PENN ST. 66, NO. 18 MICH. ST. 62: Talor Battle hit an off-balance jumper with 18 seconds left to lift the host Nittany Lions. The Spartans (10-5, 2-1 Big Ten) had one last shot to tie, but Durrell Summers' 3 from the corner with 10 seconds left sailed wide.

NO. 21 MEMPHIS 61, ECU 58: Tarik Black had 12 points and seven rebounds for the host Tigers (12-3), who won their C-USA opener despite failing to hit a field goal and making 6 of 11 free throws in the final 5:23.

S.C. 83, NO. 22 VANDY 75, OT: Sam Muldrow had the second triple double in Gamecocks history with 16 points, 14 rebounds and a career-best 10 blocks in an SEC opener against the Commodores (11-3).

NO. 23 WASH. 103, OREGON ST. 72: Matthew Bryan-Amaning had 24 points and a career-high 15 rebounds for the host Huskies (12-3), who are 4-0 in the Pac-10 for the first time since being 6-0 in 1984.

NO. 25 UNLV 83, TCU 49: Tre'Von Willis had 22 points and seven rebounds to lead the host Rebels (13-3, 1-1 Mountain West).

State

CLEMSON 79, MIAMI 72: Jerai Grant had 18 points and Demontez Stitt 17 as the host Tigers gave coach Brad Brownell his first ACC victory with a win over the Hurricanes (11-5, 0-2).

TAMPA 72, LYNN 65: Rashad Callaway had 21 points as the visiting Spartans (14-0, 4-0 Sunshine State) tied the 1991-92 squad for their best start ever.

ROLLINS 70, ECKERD 69: Myk Brown had 20 points as the Tars rallied to hand the Tritons (11-3, 2-2 SSC) their first road loss of the year.

NOVA SE 77, SAINT LEO 61: Teddy Tassy tied his career high with 18 points as the host Sharks beat the Lions (9-4, 1-3 SSC).

Rocky start sends Knights to first loss 01/08/11 [Last modified: Sunday, January 9, 2011 12:25am]

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