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Knights Win Opener Vs Cougars

By RENALDO DORSETT Sports Reporter rdorsett@tribunemedia.net Jordan Scott's alley-oop dunk made history by scoring the first basket in the inaugural Battle 4 Atlantis. But it was a dominant performance by Keith Clanton and clutch plays down the stretch from Marcus Jordan that led the Central Florida Knights to the opening win. Yesterday, Clanton finished with a game high and tied his career high with 28 points and 14 rebounds, while Jordan added 17 points and six assists in the Knights 74-63 win over the College of Charleston Cougars in the Atlantis resort's Imperial Arena. The Knights used a second-half surge to pull away from the Cougars. With the Knights ahead 44-42, the Cougars' streaky shooting from behind the arch put them ahead midway through the second half. Andrew Lawrence, who finished with 14 points and a game high 10 assists, hit two straight 3-pointers and Matt Sundberg knocked down another to give Charleston a 51-44 lead with 11:06 left to play. Clanton and Jordan then took over for the Knights, making back to back three pointers respectively and Jordan delivered an assist to Clanton to bring the Knights within one. Isaiah Sykes made one of two at the line to tie and two possessions later, another Clanton three pointer put the Knights ahead 56-55. Tied for the ninth time, at 58 with 7:34 remaining, the Knights then went on an 11-2 run. Jordan sparked the run with a stepback jumper at the top of the key and it was capped by a Tristan Spurlock dunk with 1:35 to go. Sykes finished with a near double double - 10 points and nine rebounds - while Spurlock added nine points and seven rebounds. Trent Wiedeman led Charleston with 19 points and five rebounds while Scott added 10 points. The field at the Battle 4 Atlantis rivals many established early season tournaments such as the Maui Invitational and the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. It includes the defending national title contender and defending champions Connecticut Huskies, last season's Sweet 16 participant and defensive powerhouse the Florida State Seminoles and Ivy League favourite Harvard. Other tournament participants include North Carolina-Asheville, Utah and Massachusetts. Participating schools will receive $2 million annually, which organisers say makes it the richest preseason tournament in college basketball.

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