After losing to Wichita State on the road, the key for the UCF Knights was to not let the Shockers beat them twice by dropping their next game at home against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane.
It didn’t look good early as Tulsa’s hot shooting from deep had the Knights in a 15-point hole in the first half. But thanks to four players in double figures, including 25 combined from the frontcourt duo of Tacko Fall and Collin Smith, UCF erased that deficit and held on for a two-point win.
Three In The Key
Knight of the Night
Collin Smith. After a scoreless first half, Smith tallied all 13 of his points in the second, all while spelling Tacko Fall when he struggled dealing with Tulsa’s defense. The Golden Hurricane were not capable of guarding the Knights down low, as evidenced by 32 of the Knights’ 64 points coming from Smith, Chad Brown and Fall. But Smith also shouldered the scoring load on the interior, going 3/5 and adding 7/8 from the line, where he normally shoots 62%.
Tulsa’s largest lead was 28-13 with about five minutes left in the first half. From that point, UCF scored 41 of the next 60 points to take a 7-point lead with six and a half left in the second half.
By The Numbers
73.9%. UCF’s free throw shooting has become a cliche, but in the second half, it was their saving grace (and nearly their downfall). The Knights shot 17/23 from the line in the second half.
Still, a missed foul shot by B.J. Taylor gave Tulsa a shot for the tie or the win in the final seconds, but for some reason they couldn’t get a shot off.
Who’s Got Next?
The Knights (14-3, 4-1 AAC, 3rd place) now head on the road to Tulane for a Wednesday night tilt in the Big Easy (8 p.m. ET, ESPN3). The Wave is ebbing at 4-13 and 0-5 in The American.
Final from Connecticut— Tulane Basketball (@GreenWaveMBB) January 19, 2019
We're back at home Wednesday night against UCF#RollWave pic.twitter.com/WGgCBCzuhx