UCF (16-2, 11-0 Atlantic Sun) started the game hot from downtown.
Avant came off a screen to drain a triple, which was followed by a
Dexter Lyons' trifecta giving the Golden Knights an early five-point
lead. Avant would add another shot from behind the arc, as the Knights made
their first three triples and, led by Avant's eight points, doubled up the Owls
FAU (8-10, 5-6 A-Sun) came back with a three of its own, as Jeff Hamilton hit from the corner cutting the UCF advantage to three with 14:24 left. However, a Josh Bodden jumper, a Morentin lay-up, and a Lyons' basket pushed the lead back to nine at 22-13.
The Owls continued to battle cutting the lead to seven on a three-point play by Earnest Crumbley. But UCF would outscore the Owls' 13-4 over the final six minutes. Included in the run was Morentin's first three-pointer of the season and an alley-oop dunk by Lyons with 50 seconds remaining in the half. At the intermission, UCF had a 16-point advantage at 43-27.
Morentin led all scorers with 13 at the break, adding five rebounds and two blocks. Avant chipped in 10 points and nine rebounds as UCF outrebounded FAU 32-13 in the opening stanza.
After a Lyons three-point play to begin the second half, FAU's Mike Bell went on a 10-2 run, making two lay-ups and two three-pointers whittling the UCF lead to 11 with 15:31 remaining.
The Owls' continued to make a move. After a Morentin lay-up and a Bodden free throw extended the lead back to 14, FAU's Jeff Cowans hit a triple to bring the deficit back to 11. Three free throws and a Bell lay-up cut the lead to six, the closest FAU had been since 7:15 remaining in the first half. Two Morentin free throws ended the Owls 8-0 run.
Things began to get heated with 9:35 remaining as double technical fouls were called on UCF's Kingsley Edwards and Cowans and finally an additional technical was called on UCF head coach Kirk Speraw. Crumbley made one of the two free throws to bring the Owls within seven at 56-49.
However, Morentin slowed the FAU momentum, scoring the next five points and put the Knights back up by 10.
The Owls would not go away. A three by Darren Dickerson brought them within seven with 4:51 to play, but they would get no closer. UCF made nine of 12 free throws down the stretch to close out the game.
Morentin ended the game with a career high 24 points and 10 boards. His third career double-double also included three blocks. Avant ended with 10 points and a season-high 10 rebounds, marking his first career double-double at UCF. It is the first time since the College of Charleston (11/26/03) that two UCF players recorded double-doubles in the same game. Lyons added 16 points, while Bodden scored 11. The Knights hit 40 percent from the floor and connected on just six triples on 21 attempts. UCF outrebounded FAU by 19 boards grabbing a season high 51 to the Owls 32. UCF also had 21 makes in 30 attempts at the charity stripe.
Bell led FAU with 19 points on 8-17 shooting from the floor, but shot just 1-7 from the line. FAU ended the game shooting 41.1 percent from the field and also connected on just six shots from long range. The Owls shot just 46 percent from the line making 12 on 26 attempts.
The Knights return to action on Saturday, Jan. 31 when they host A-Sun rival Troy State. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m. All the action can be heard on AM 740 – The Team (WQTM) with Marc Daniels on the microphone beginning at 7:00 p.m.
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