Saturday, January 07, 2012
CF Patriots 78, Santa Fe 56 (MBB)
Central Florida began its men's basketball Mid-Florida Conference championship defense in the finest way possible Saturday night, routing archrival Santa Fe 78-56 in front of a near-capacity Ocala crowd.
In a battle of state-ranked teams and presumed MFC title contenders, the FCSAA No. 7 Patriots sprinted to a 22-6 lead over the FCSAA No. 3 Saints, landing the first blow in a conference battle that may last the duration of the 12-game MFC season. After a sustained Santa Fe rally, Luis Jacobo and Hunter Williams knocked down 3-pointers on consecutive possessions to rebuild a double-digit lead and put the home team in the locker room up 40-28.
The barrage continued after halftime, as CF stretched its lead to 17 just 90 seconds into the half on a transition 3-pointer by Christian Martinez.
Jacobo filled up the state sheet with a game-high 17 points to go with 7 rebounds and 4 assists. Will Saunders finished with 15 and Eugene McCrory 14 in a balanced CF attack.
The win was the fifth straight for CF (14-5, 1-0 MFC) and ninth consecutive against the Saints. the school's Gainesville-based closest rival.
CF cruised to last year's MFC championship with a 10-2 record and advanced to the FCSAA State Tournament semifinals. With most of last year's key players now on NCAA rosters, however, the onus fell to the current roster to secure its own chunk of MFC turf.
The Patriots travel next Saturday to nemesis Daytona State, which won the MFC title two years ago and joined CF at the state tournament last season.