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Miami gets by Gators; UCF defeats UMass

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The No. 17 Miami Hurricanes defeated their in-state rival Florida Gators, 66-55 on Tuesday night at Bank United Center in Coral Gables. While neither team shot well, the Hurricanes were more effective behind the three-point line to help them earn their eighth win of the season against one loss.

The Gators trailed by only 25-24 with 2:44 left in the half, but Miami scored the final 8 points of the half to take a 33-24 lead into the locker room. After trailing by double digits, the Gators got within 45-40 with 9:50 remaining on a Brandone Francis-Ramirez jumper.

Miami then went on a 17-7 run to put the game away. The Hurricanes’ last field goal came with 6:39 to play, but they made 10 of 12 free throws down the stretch to claim the victory.

Miami’s Sheldon McClellan led all scorers with 24 points with Angel Rodriguez chipping in 17. Florida was led by John Egbunu with 14 points.

The Gators shot 39 percent, but were one for 12 from three-point range. The Hurricanes also shot 39 percent, but were 7 for 17 on three-pointers.

After taking only their second loss against 6 wins, it gets even tougher for Florida. On Saturday they are in East Lansing, Mich. to take on top-ranked Michigan State. The Hurricanes have 11 days off before hosting College of Charleston.

Central Florida 67, Massachusetts 63

Central Florida raced to a 12-point halftime lead, then hung on for a 67-63 victory over Massachusetts in Orlando. The Knights outscored the Minutemen, 6-0 in the final minute to pull out the win.

UMass never led in the first half and found themselves down by 15 with less than 6 minutes remaining in the half. UCF led 37-25 at the break.

That lead quickly evaporated. With 13:27 remaining, Donte Clark made a three-pointer that tied the game at 44. After staying basically even, the Minutemen took a 61-57 lead with 4:54 remaining. It was 63-61 entering the final minute before Daiquan Walker and Shaheed Davis combined for the final 6 points that gave UCF the win.

Central Florida (4-3) was led by A.J. Davis with 14 points, followed by Davis and Adonys Henriquez with 11 each. Trey Davis paced Massachusetts (5-3) with 20 points.

UCF hosts the Florida Atlantic Owls on Saturday.

Bob Sparks is President of Ramos and Sparks Group, a Tallahassee-based business and political consulting firm. During his career, he has directed media relations and managed events for professional baseball, served as chief spokesperson for the Republican Party of Florida as well as the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Attorney General of Florida. After serving as Executive Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Charlie Crist, he returned to the private sector working with clients including the Republican National Committee and political candidates in Japan. He lives in Tallahassee with his wife, Sue and can be reached at Bob@ramos-sparks.com.

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