September 26, 2018 | ° F

Central Florida edges Rutgers behind scoring outburst

A day after Rutgers head men’s basketball coach Eddie Jordan emphasized to media that the Scarlet Knights take too many bad shots, Rutgers had to rely on one last night.

Senior forward J.J. Moore’s NBA-range 3-pointer hung in the air as Rutgers trailed Central Florida, 65-63. It bounced off the rim, leaving Rutgers with a 67-65 loss in Orlando.

Rutgers (10-18, 4-11) played strong defense overall against UCF, allowing only 38.9 percent field goal shooting.

But UCF (11-15, 3-12) made timely baskets, and guard Isaiah Sykes gave his team the lead. Sykes swung past junior forward Craig Brown on the perimeter for a layup to give UCF a 64-63 lead with 42 seconds remaining.

Junior guard Myles Mack’s missed floater on the ensuing possession gave Rutgers limited time one possession later. Moore was open on the 3-pointer but too far away.

An 11-0 UCF run put Rutgers at a 54-50 lead with 6:03 remaining. Forward Tristan Spurlock completed the run with a 3-pointer en route to his 23 points.

UCF stayed close, as guard Isaiah Sykes made it a one-possession game. His layup made Rutgers’ lead only 61-58 with 2:38 left.

Once 4:01 remained in the first half, Jordan implemented the lineup he used for the final 10:19 of last Thursday’s match against Memphis.

It worked for Rutgers, which took a 7-2 advantage in that phase for a 35-26 halftime lead.

Freshman forward Junior Etou scored a quick 3-pointer with 3:50 left in the half. Then Etou and Mack closed first-half scoring with layups.

It ended a half when Rutgers shot 53.3 percent from the field and UCF shot 34.4 percent in that regard.

Rutgers took an early 8-0 lead, holding UCF to 1-for-9 field goal shooting at that point. But UCF stormed back with 9 consecutive points. UCF’s run ended in a midrange jumper from Sykes with 14:13 left.

By Josh Bakan

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