Jordan, UCF upset No. 18 Florida
Published: Wednesday, December 1, 2010 at 9:31 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, December 1, 2010 at 11:14 p.m.
ORLANDO — Florida coach Billy Donovan didn't hold back shortly after UCF stunned the No. 18 Gators 57-54 at the Amway Center.
The Gators (5-2) failed to score more than 55 points for the second straight game. But unlike last Sunday's 55-51 win at FSU, Florida failed to come up with big plays and big stops in the closing minutes.
“There's no question our offensive chemistry right now is not very good,” Donovan said. “We have guys right now that are way to wrapped up with their offense and how many shots they are getting up.
“We've not very cohesive. ... What I think they are doing is they are not playing together, they are not utilizing each other's individual talents. The disappointing part is these guys all have played together.”
The emotional game between Donovan and former longtime assistant Donnie Jones turned into a shootout between UCF guard Marcus Jordan and Florida center Vernon Macklin. Jordan, the son of Chicago Bulls icon Michael Jordan, scored six of his team-high 18 points in the final four minutes. Macklin scored 14 of his team-high 20 points for Florida in the second half.
But after a Macklin hook shot cut UCF's lead to 53-52 with 1:08 left, Florida failed to score the rest of the way. Sophomore guard Kenny Boynton got a steal on an in-bounds pass, but missed a jumper from the elbow of the free-throw line with 33 seconds left. After Jordan hit two free throws for UCF with 24 seconds remaining to extend UCF's lead to 55-52, point guard Erving Walker and Boynton missed back-to-back 3-point attempts that would have tied the game.
“I thought I had a good look,” Walker said. “But it didn't go in.”
But Donovan thought the Gators should have driven the ball inside for a quick two-point basket to try to extend the game.
“I can't call all of the plays for them every time they come down the floor because sometimes they are in transition,” Donovan said. “They should be seeing the fact that Vernon Macklin is having a big night. Let's get Vernon the ball. The ball should have went inside more to all of our big guys.”
It was a tough homecoming for Florida senior Chandler Parsons. The forward, from the Orlando suburb of Casselberry, was held to two points on 1-of-9 shooting from the floor and 0-of-6 from the free-throw line. Overall, Florida shot 10-of-18 from the free-throw line, another subplot to UF's offensive woes.
Macklin also was 0-for-2 from the line and missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw with Florida trailing 53-50 and 1:57 left.
“I just need to get in the gym more and focus in that situation,” Macklin said.
Said Donovan: “Vernon needs to get in the gym on his own like he did a year ago. ... Chandler, with the way he's shooting right now, that looked like his sophomore year. You're just not in the right frame of mind. I don't know if we'll be a great free-throw shooting team, but Chandler is better than 0-for-6.
Walker added 18 points for Florida, while Boynton finished with 10 points.
“The better team won tonight,” Boynton said, “That's the truth. We've got to play more as a team. I don't know why, but we've gotten pretty selfish.”
Keith Clanton added 12 points for UCF (6-0), which survived a stretch of 14 straight missed shots to remain undefeated.
“I'm lost for words right now,” Jones said. “It's kind of surreal this happened.”
The half-Gator, half-UCF crowd of 13,909 was more vocal for the Knights early. Back-to-back 3-pointers from Isaac Sosa and David Diakite against UF's zone gave the Knights an early 28-20 lead.
Florida struggled early guarding Jordan, who had nine points and two assists in the first half. When Jordan wasn't scoring, he was breaking Florida's defenders off the dribble and setting up his teammates for open shots.
Parsons struggled in his homecoming early, going 1 of 5 from the field in the first half and 0 of 4 from the free-throw line. Parsons had a chance to cut into UCF's 34-30 halftime lead, but missed two free throws with 4.9 seconds left, including an air-ball on the second one.
Macklin scored six first-half points for Florida but sat the final 10:09 of the half after picking up his second foul.
UCF shot 52 percent from the field in the first half and 40 percent from 3-point range.
“Every loss you take something from,” Macklin said. “Hopefully, we learn from this because we have more games coming up.”
Contact Kevin Brockway at 352-374-5054 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also check out Brockway's blog at Gatorsports.com.