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Last second shot sinks Knights, lose 63-62

Men's basketball beat writer

Published: Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Updated: Wednesday, February 9, 2011 22:02

Central Florida Future

Alex Schierholtz

The UCF Arena was ready to explode. Memphis' Antonio Barton had other plans.

Barton's game winning three pointer with just under three seconds remaining handed the UCF Knights (14-8, 1-8) a 63-62 loss to the Memphis Tigers (18-6, 6-3).

For the Knights, it was their eighth consecutive loss, and likely the toughest of them all.

"It's probably one of the toughest (losses) considering we were on a losing streak," said guard Isaac Sosa. "We were hoping that with the way we were playing that we were going to win, we played hard the whole game… but all the credit goes to them."

UCF played easily its most complete game of the losing streak. They hung in during the first half after getting off to a rocky start offensively, and went into the half trailing only two, 32-30. A rowdy announced crowd of 7,076 bolstered the Knights, who in turn gave a scrappy, intense performance.

"This team has continued to fight," said head coach Donnie Jones.

UCF started the second half by outscoring the Tigers 17-8 in the first eight minutes, giving the Knights a 47-40 edge. Memphis, who was led in scoring by Will Barton and his 15 points, rallied though, using a press to force two consecutive UCF turnovers, and kept it close down the stretch.

 Will Barton hit a three with 58 seconds remaining that tied the game at 60. Following a UCF timeout, Marcus Jordan hit a go-ahead lay-up off a pick and roll, putting the Knights up 62-60 with 39 seconds.

Memphis called a timeout with 17 seconds remaining. Will Barton had the ball out of the timeout, but the play broke down and the Tigers star found his brother, Antonio, in the corner for the shot. Antonio Barton finished with 14 points.

"It looked like it worked because we made the shot," said Memphis coach Josh Pastner afterwards.

Marcus Jordan pushed the ball up the floor following the shot but his buzzer beater fell short.

The Knights were led in scoring Isaac Sosa and his 14 points. Sosa went four of five on three point attempts, and his big shots kept UCF in the game early on.

Marcus Jordan added 12 points, but struggled from the field going three of 13.

"Shots fell for some guys, I couldn't make a shot tonight," said Jordan afterwards. "It was just one of those nights were the ball wouldn't go in.

"I got to make shots."

The Knights poor shooting from downtown of late improved, with UCF shooting 50 percent on three pointers.  The Knights also switched to a zone defense from their usual man-to-man in the first half, a move that likely was the reason they had an opportunity to win the game in the first place. Still, two big shots in the last minute from the Barton brothers was enough to take down UCF.

 Despite another loss, Jones says he sees reason for optimism.

"I'm proud of our team," said Jones. "Losing is not what we wanted to do but this group of kids has continued to work, and will continue to work."




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