Updated Sat, Dec 21, 2013 12:08 pm
The Rio Grande men’s basketball team travels south for the winter to Orlando, Fla., to take on its second NCAA Division I opponent of the 2013-14 campaign. This time, the RedStorm square off against the Central Florida Knights in the Jackson Hewitt Holiday Classic on Saturday at 4 p.m. at the CFE Federal Credit Union Arena.
The game against Central Florida serves as an exhibition contest for Rio and marks its second game against a Division I foe this year. In their first Division I exhibition matchup, the RedStorm were crushed 119-77 by Marshall back on Nov. 12.
In its last game, Rio Grande lost at home 78-70 to Ohio Christian University, marking only its fourth loss of the season. In the losing effort, the RedStorm were led by sophomore forward Phillip Hertz who came off the bench to score a team-high 17 points and seven rebounds. Hertz also leads the team with 15.4 points a game and is shooting nearly 52 percent from the field. Freshman forward Bilal Young also highlights the RedStorm roster averaging 11.7 points a game and a team-high 8.1 rebounds per game.
Central Florida comes into the contest with a three-game win streak including a 104-64 thrashing of the Jacksonville Dolphins on Tuesday night. The Knights are also a member of the recently formed American Athletic Conference, which was formerly known as the Big East Conference.
Coached by former Marshall head coach Donnie Jones, Central Florida led Jacksonville by as many as 47 points in the second half leading to the Knights’ sixth win in nine outings. In the win against the Dolphins, UCF had four players score in double digits including Tristan Spurlock who had a game-high 23 points and 11 rebounds. At 16.6 points a game, Calvin Newell leads the Knights in scoring while Spurlock leads the team with nearly four assists and 7.6 rebounds per game.
The RedStorm look for their second ever win against a Division I team after defeating Campbell University last year, 67-65. After the weekend classic, Central Florida won’t play again until New Year’s Eve when it hosts the Louisville Cardinals. Tipoff for Saturday’s exhibition game is set for 4 p.m.