Central Florida Rocks Rio Grande, 86-58

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The Central Florida Knights defended their home court in the second game of the Jackson Hewitt Holiday Classic defeating the Rio Grande RedStorm 86-58. This exhibition game in Orlando, Fla., at the CFE Arena marks Rio Grande’s second loss of the year to an NCAA Division I opponent.

The Knights carried a three-game win streak going into this exhibition matchup, as this UCF Holiday Classic is part of a seven-game homestead for the Knights. Rio led the first minute of this game, 4-0, but that would prove to be its only lead of the game. Central Florida scored the game’s next 10 points giving it a lead it would not relinquish. The RedStorm were able to go on a 7-0 run in the last two minutes of the first half, closing the gap to 41-32 at halftime.

Two quick buckets in the second half pulled Rio within five points with 18:25 left. That, however, would be as close as the RedStorm would get the rest of the game. In the next seven minutes of play, the Knights went on a 20-4 run giving them their biggest lead of the night, at 61-40 with 11:19 remaining in the game.

Central Florida led this entire game in all but the first minute of play and were highlighted by Kasey Wilson who had a team-high 19 points and[BP1]  nine rebounds. Wilson also entered this game shooting 52 percent from 3-point range, which ranked fourth in the American Athletic Conference. Daiquan Walker chipped in 11 points of his own, as the UCF Knights shot exactly 50 percent from the field. More impressively, Central Florida shot 54.2 percent from 3-point range while Rio only shot 11 percent from behind the arc. After each team scored 16 points off the bench in the first half, the Knights outscored Rio Grande 31-11 in that category in the second half.

Despite outscoring Central Florida 44-30 on points in the paint, the RedStorm shot only 37 percent from the field. Like UCF, Rio had two players score in double figures. 

Josh Reagan led the team in scoring for the first time this season with 19 points while Phillip Hertz had 10 points to go along with his game-high 10 rebounds. Hertz also played all but three minutes of this 40-minute contest against the Division I Knights. The RedStorm shot a dismal 3-for-27 from behind the arc as Hertz, D.D. Joiner, and Ricky Tisdale combined to make zero three’s on 14 attempts.

This game also marked only the second time ever that these two teams have played, with the first going back to 1975 when UCF defeated Rio 101-88. Central Florida head coach Donnie Jones is now 4-0 against Rio Grande, with the first three victories coming from his three-year stint as the head coach at Marshall University. The RedStorm close out their time in Orlando, Fla., tomorrow with the fourth and final game of the Jackson Hewitt Holiday Classic in a game against Southeastern University. Tipoff is set for 5 p.m.