CONWAY, S.C. - Charlie Brown, Jr., scored a career-high 28 points but the Saint Joseph’s men’s basketball team (3-1) couldn’t overcome a balanced scoring effort by UCF, falling to the Knights, 77-57, in the semifinals of the Myrtle Beach Invitational.
SJU will now play the loser of the West Virginia-Western Kentucky game for third place on Sunday, November 18 at 4:00 p.m., with the broadcast on ESPNU.
Sophomore Taylor Funk was the only other Hawk in double figures with 16 points as he made 4-of-5 three pointers in the game. It was the second consecutive game in which Brown set a new career-high, while he has scored 20-points or more in every game this year.
The Hawks started the way they did in the previous game, going 4-for-4 from three-point range in the opening minutes as Funk hit his first three three-pointers. But 7’6” Tacko Fall of UCF had six quick points to help the Knights go up early. UCF led 22-16 and then stretched it to 36-24 with under four minutes to play in the first half. Funk and Brown connected on back-to-back threes and pulled within 36-30 at 1:36 before Terrell Allen hit two buckets to send the Knights into intermission holding a 40-30 lead.
Brown scored the Hawks’ first six points of the second half to bring SJU within 45-36. A quick 6-0 UCF run pushed its lead to 51-36. A layup by Jared Bynum seemed to put the Hawks within range, 53-42, but UCF used an 11-2 run to take the biggest lead to that point, 64-44, at 11:30. The Hawks couldn’t come any closer and saw a 23-point UCF margin become the largest of the game and the season.
Despite a first half converting 8-of-17 from three-point range, the Hawks managed just 1-for-8 in the second. SJU also committed a season-high 11 turnovers. UCF hit 60 percent from the field in the second half, going 15-for-25.
Allen led UCF with 22 points, and converted 4-of-5 three-pointers.
"Their defense is good on tape, it’s outstanding in person. We ended up playing a lot of side-to-side basketball and not to the rim. And even when we went to the rim, one of the things we have not done great is finishing. And you can’t go 6-for-13 from the foul line. You have to take advantage of every opportunity to score against a quality defense," said SJU coach Phil Martelli. "They had 10 field goals off the bench, and we had none. Those guys made a difference. They showed balance."
"We’re looking to have four double-figure scorers. We want to be in the 72-point range. We got to 22-22, and then hit a wall. We rushed some jumpers, and at the rim we weren’t finishing. But all credit to their defense. They’re a wonderful, wonderful defensive team. We’re tired mentally. We missed assignments, we missed calls. … We didn’t have a pop. We didn’t have a right pace mentally or physically," said Martelli of the Hawks, who get a break from game action on Saturday before playing in the consolation contest on Sunday afternoon.