ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - UAB entered Wednesday's Conference USA opener vs. UCF having made a 3-pointer in every contest dating back to 1996. The Blazers had no luck from deep Wednesday as the Knights used a strong defensive effort to begin its final campaign in C-USA with a resounding 64-48 victory at the UCF Arena.
UCF (11-4, 1-0 C-USA) did not allow the Blazers to make a 3-pointer as UAB (8-8, 0-1) went 0-of-23 from deep. The Knights limited the Blazers to 26.0 percent overall shooting for the game. UAB was the first UCF opponent to go without a 3-pointer since 2005.
"I am proud (of the defense). They had some good looks that just didn't go down," UCF head coach Donnie Jones said. "I am proud of our guys tonight. We did hold them to 48 points tonight, which was key for the game."
UCF made 42.3 percent of its field goals and was led by Calvin Newell, who totaled 14 points.
The Knights were opening their eighth and final campaign in C-USA. Next fall, the program will begin its first season in the BIG EAST. The game was played in front of a season-high 6,185 fans.
UCF led 31-23 at the break, but the Blazers got into the game in the second half by holding the Knights without a field goal until the 15:20 mark of the period. UAB opened the half with an 8-0 run and tied the contest at 31 when Jordan Swing made two free throws.
The hosts responded as Newell started a quick 6-0 run with a 3-pointer. The Blazers got within four points with 11:54 to go, but the Knights again countered with a run. Matt Williams sparked a 10-2 spurt that put the game out of reach with a traditional 3-point play, and the run was capped by a triple from Kasey Wilson at the 9:15 mark that gave UCF a 49-37 lead.
Newell was one of three Knights to finish with double digits in scoring. Keith Clanton recorded his eighth double-double of the year with 12 points and 13 rebounds and also added five blocks. Tristan Spurlock scored 12 points in the win.
During the first half, Clanton became just the fourth player in UCF history to record at least 1,500 career points and 500 career rebounds.
"It is a good accomplishment, but I am more happy for the win," Clanton said. "If the individual stuff comes, that is good, but I am not worried about it."
UCF won three contests a year ago against the Blazers. Rod Rucker led UAB with 17 points and 14 rebounds.
The Knights will return to action Saturday at East Carolina