Men's basketball set for Conference USA Tournament, Clanton earns All-Conference First Team honors
Knights earn first-round bye, resume play in quarterfinals Thursday
Published: Monday, March 5, 2012
Updated: Monday, March 5, 2012 12:03
Saturday night's victory over UAB did more than just send senior A.J. Rompza and P.J. Gaynor off on a positive note.
With the Knights' 71-63 victory also came a first-round bye and the No. 4 seed in this week's Conference USA Tournament, held in Memphis. UCF seems unlikely for an at-large NCAA Tournament bid, so its best chance of making the field is by winning the automatic bid awarded to the tournament champion.
Getting to bypass the first round means the Knights, who have had trouble playing well consistently over the course of multiple games, will need to win three games in a row to win the tournament.
UCF will play the winner of No. 5 seed UAB (14-15, 9-7) and No. 12 seed Tulane (15-15, 3-13). The Knights are a combined 3-0 against the two programs this season. The quarterfinal matchup will take place on Thursday at 10 p.m. and will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network.
Should the Knights win, their semifinal matchup would be Friday at 5:30 p.m., likely against top-seeded Memphis. The Conference USA Tournament championship game is Saturday at 11:35 a.m. and will be broadcast on CBS.
Clanton named to All-Conference First Team
Junior forward Keith Clanton has been named to Conference USA's First Team after helping lead the Knights to 21 regular season victories. Clanton has become the first Knight since former guard Jermaine Taylor (08-09) to be named to the conference's first team.
Clanton ranks eighth in the league in scoring at 15.0 points per game and fifth in rebounds per contest (8.4). In conference games, he ranked sixth in scoring (14.6) and fifth in offensive rebounds (2.9). Clanton also led the conference in blocks per game (2.0).
The junior forward led the Knights in scoring 15 times, in addition to eight 20-point performances. The former Orlando Christian Prep star picked up seven double-doubles along the way.
After the 2010-2011 season, Clanton garnered All-C-USA Third Team recognition as a sophomore.