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Waiting in the Wings: UCF destroys ECU; SMU opens with buzzer-beater over Tulsa; Houston smoked by UTEP

Last year, the University of Central Florida was beat by East Carolina three times. Twice in conference play, and then in the first round of the conference playoff.

But on January 7, 2012, in Greenville, North Carolina, the ECU Pirates were obliterated.

(that's a One Piece reference)

UCF dominated the game to win, 81-63. After taking a 38-31 lead at the half, the Knights went on a very long run to begin the second half, at one point leading by 22. ECU would never get within 10 from that point on.

A.J. Rompza showed why he was all-important to this Knights team. He had 16 points, 7 rebounds and 9 assists. While he flirted with a triple-double, Isaiah Sykes got a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Keith Clanton got 16 points as well.

Meanwhile, Southern Methodist pulled a late comeback to win their season opener at Tulsa, 57-55.

After a back-and-forth game all night, SMU went cold in the middle of the second half. They went on a tear in the last 5 minutes, propelled by a couple threes by Robert Nyakundi, then Jeremiah Samarrippas hit a buzzer-beating three to cinch it.

Nyakundi led the Mustangs with 14 points and 6 rebounds. Samarrippas had 8 points and 4 assists. London Giles had 11 points.

As for Houston... they got smoked by UTEP, 70-50. ESPN didn't even bother to write up a recap. Joseph Young led the team with 14 points off the bench.

Next up on Wednesday, UCF (12-3, 2-0) will host Houston (9-6, 1-1), and SMU (9-6, 1-0) will host Rice (9-7, 0-1).

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