Saturday, February 11, 2012
CF Patriots 78, Santa Fe 61 (MBB)
Central Florida earned the most meaningful win of its Mid-Florida Conference men's basketball season on Saturday with a 78-61 victory over visiting Santa Fe.
With a homecoming crowd in attendance and the nemesis Saints on the other bench, the Patriots turned in a spirited performance that left them tied with Santa Fe atop the MFC standings and clinched the season series over their I-75 archrivals.
The Patriots went up by 10 at halftime, saw their lead all but erased early in the second half and restored a double-digit edge with 13 minutes to play. Eugene McCrory's vicious fast-break dunk and Brian Pace's 3-pointer stretched the lead to 63-46 midway through the half.
Hunter Williams scored 15 points, including a trio of 3-pointers, to lead the Patriots. Pace scored 13, Christian Martinez added 12 and Jeremiah Eason and Eugene McCrory posted 10 apiece to give CF five double-figure scorers.
With the win, CF (20-7, 7-2 MFC) takes over the inside track for the conference title and the automatic FCSAA State Tournament that comes with it. If the Patriots and Saints finished tied, both teams will advance to Marianna, with CF as the MFC's champion and top seed thanks to its 2-1 head-to-head season advantage. Should one team finish in first place outright, that team will advance directly and the other will be relegated to a single-elimination play-in tournament for the conference's other postseason spot.
The FCSAA No. 6 Patriots have handed the No. 2 Saints their only two conference losses.
Now in control of its own fate, CF enjoys a week off before a Saturday visit to Daytona State. Its final home game is Wednesday, Feb. 22, at 8 p.m. against St. Johns River. The season concludes Feb. 25 at FSC-Jacksonville.