The Knights started off fast, going on a 11-2 run to open the game, just 2:56 into the 1st period as UCF hit 3 straight 3-pointers, with two coming from freshman B.J. Taylor.
The Titans would fight back, tying the game up at 14 with 11:33 left in the 1st period on a 3 point shot from sophomore guard Matthew Grant. Detroit would then add a layup and a 3 point shot to extend a 10-0 run, giving the Titans their largest lead of the night at 19-14 with 9:40 left to play in the 1st half.
UCF then connected on three more 3 pointers and a layup from both Brandon Goodwin and Henriquez on their way to a 13-0 run, taking a 27-19 lead with 5:01 left to play in the 1st period. This run was the true turning point of the game, as it gave UCF their second largest lead of the game up to this point, one of which they would not relinquish the rest of the night.
Titans leading scorer on the night, Juwan Howard Jr., would connect on a jumper to cut the Knights lead to just 3, making it 29-26 with 2:56 left in the half. But an emphatic dunk by UCF’s Staphon Blair would spark a 6-1 run for the Knights as we went to the locker rooms at the half with UCF on top of Detroit 35-27.
Blair finished the night shooting 4-4 from the floor and shot 6-8 from the charity stripe in the game. “I’m really proud of Staphon and how he played tonight. He is a great competitor. He came in with the right mindset and made some big free throws in the second half. It was probably his best effort of the season. He sot 100% tonight and I couldn’t be more proud.” said UCF Head Coach Donnie Jones of Blairs performance.
The Knights opened up the 2nd half with the same fury as the 1st, going on a 16-5 run to take a 51-33 lead as UCF opened up an 18 point gap on the Titans. This was the Knights largest lead of the game and it would prove to be enough, as Detroit pulled within 10 & 8 multiple times, never drawing nearer until there was a little more that 2 minutes left on the clock.
Then things got interesting, as Howard Jr. went in for a layup with 2:01 left on the clock and was fouled by UCF’s Blair as the bucket fell in. This made it an 8-point game with a free throw coming for Detroit.
Howard connected from the charity stripe which made it 68-61 with 2:01 left to play in regulation. Suddenly the Titans had hope again.
That hope would not be enough though, as the Titans were able to cut the lead to just 3 with 29 seconds left on the clock. UCF then connected on 7 of 8 free throw attempts to seal a 75-70 victory over the Detroit Titans in front of an announced crowd of 3428 at the CFE Arena on UCF Campus.
The Knights now set their sights on SE Louisiana, whom they will face, this Sunday at 7pm on ESPN3.