J. Meric

USF Opens 2012-13, Sun Dome With Loss to Knights

November 10, 2012
Team 1st 2nd OT Final
UCF 40 34 -- 74
24 32 -- 56


USF Senior Writer 


TAMPA – The brand new Sun Dome is finished, but the USF men’s basketball team is still a work in progress.

Jawanza Poland came off the bench to score a career-high 22 points, but the Bulls couldn’t get a rhythm going in a season opening 74-56 loss to UCF on Saturday night.

“We need some time to really figure some things out and get back to playing defense the way we need to, rebounding especially,” USF head coach Stan Heath said.

The Knights had four players finish in double figures with stars Isaiah Sykes and Keith Clanton leading the way. Sykes scored 17 of his game-high 26 points in the first half and posted 11 rebounds. Clanton had 16 points and his 16 rebounds helped UCF grab a 45-26 advantage on the boards.

“Anytime you do that you have a chance to win. Tonight we were fortunate to get those rebounds playing a big lineup,” UCF head coach Donnie Jones said.

The Bulls’ only lead came in the first half when senior Toarlyn Fitzpatrick got the crowd going with a 3-pointer that put USF ahead, 7-6. UCF wound up with a 40-24 advantage at halftime after limiting the Bulls to nine field goals (9-for-29).

Poland powered the USF scoring attack with 17 points in the second half, but the Bulls’ defense couldn’t get UCF out of its groove. The Knights shot 57 percent from the field after the break and didn’t let up after Poland cut USF’s deficit to 12 with 8:58 to play.

“There were so many times when we tried to do something and one guy was out of sorts,” Heath said. “We just have to spend more time in the gym really tightening up the ship.”

One thing that wasn’t in question was the large amount of support the Bulls got in their first game back at the Sun Dome with an electric crowd of 7,717 in attendance.

“I was very, very impressed with the turnout tonight. We let them down, but we still have a lot of games to go,” Heath said.

The Bulls look to bounce back during a busy stretch of basketball back at the Sun Dome starting next weekend. Heath’s squad starts its run at the USF Invitational on Friday, Nov. 16 against Maryland Eastern Shore at 7:30 p.m. The Bulls play Loyola-Chicago the next night at 7:30 and finish up with Western Michigan on Sunday, Nov. 18 at 3 p.m.









USF FG-A 3FG-A FT-A  Pts. 
Jawanza Poland 8-11 2-3 4-5 22
UCF FG-A  3FG-A  FT-A Pts. 
Isaiah Sykes
10-16 0-0 6-14 
USF Off. Def. Total
Toarlyn Fitzpatrick 2 5 7
UCF Off. Def. Total
Keith Clanton
6 10 16
USF Asst. Stl.  Blk. 
Anthony Collins
6 3 0
UCF Asst. Stl. Blk.
Isaiah Sykes 8 2 0

MORE FROM Men's Basketball