Central Florida squandered a sizeable lead and took a heartbreaking loss Thursday at Tallahassee, falling to the No. 4 Eagles 86-83.
The Eagles recovered from a 15-point second-half deficit, finally moving into the lead 82-81 with a 1:31 to play. A late turnover cost No. 3 Central Florida a possible game-winning possession and forced CF to send the Eagles back to the line. CF was reduced to a futile half-court heave by Travis Johnson wtih one second left.
The Patriots were doomed by a foul-plaged outing by Ratliffe, held to a season-low 15 points in 21 minutes of action. Justin Cecil scored 23 points, including 6-for-11 from 3-point range, and Johnson scored 14 points.
CF and Tallahassee splits the home-and-home season series, which also included the Patriots' emphatic 83-68 win in Ocala on Nov. 21. The Patriots have lost all three of their games played in the Panhandle against Panhandle Conference opponents, including setbacks to Northwest Florida, Chipola and now Tallahassee. CF falls to 12-4 overall and 6-3 away from home.
That concludes the 2009 portion of the schedule for the Patriots. They're back in action on Sunday, Jan. 3, hosting Coastal Georgia in a 3 p.m. matinee.
Here's the full box score.