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UCF Drops Another Tight Game Against #23 Texas Tech

Knights can’t get over the hump in close second half

NCAA Basketball: Central Florida at Cincinnati Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The #23 Texas Tech Red Raiders defeated the UCF Knights 66-59 at United Supermarkets Arena in Lubbock, Texas. With the loss, UCF fell to 13-9 overall and 4-6 in the Big 12. Despite crawling to within one point several times in the second half, UCF didn’t get the lead once in the entire game.

Texas Tech (17-6, 6-4), snapped its three-game losing streak with the win. UCF did a good job against Pop Isaacs, who entered today averaging the fourth-most points in the Big 12 with 17.3 PPG. Today, he scored just seven points and shot 2-of-13 from the field.

Darrion Williams led Texas Tech in scoring and rebounds with 13 each. Warren Washington also recorded a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.

“It’s whoever’s night it is I guess,” Williams said.

C.J. Walker is Back

UCF played its last game seven days ago against the Oklahoma Sooners (ranked No. 23 last week) in Orlando and won 74-63. C.J. Walker to return to the lineup after missing the last three games.

“The week allowed us to get some guys healthy like C.J. Walker,” Dawkins said.

Playing 28 minutes off the bench, Walker finished with a season-high 13 points and recorded eight rebounds in the game. He entered today averaging 6.9 points per game.

UCF’s leading scorers were Jaylin Sellers and Darius Johnson with 14 points each.

Three-Point Struggles

In the first half, UCF struggled to shoot from three. UCF shot seven percent (1-of-14) from three trailing 31-25 at halftime.

“I didn’t think that really disturbed us,” Dawkins said. “We’ve been in that situation before. Halftime it was still a six-point game.”

So Close Yet So Far

UCF trailed Texas Tech 58-57 with 2:07 remaining after Walker split a pair of free throws. But the Red Raiders finished the game with a 8-1 run.

Darrion Williams made a two-pointer to give Texas Tech a 60-57 lead. Then, Tech’s defense came up with a steal and block. Warren Washington secured a big offensive rebound with 57 seconds left to keep possession for the Red Raiders. Up by three with 41 seconds left, Joe Toussaint made two clutch free throws to make it a five-point lead.

“They made the plays they needed to at the end to secure the game,” Dawkins said.

Next Up

UCF will be back in action on Tuesday night at 9 p.m. ET against the No. 21 BYU Cougars in Provo, Utah, at the Marriott Center.

The Knights lost the first meeting this season on Jan. 13 to BYU in Orlando 63-58 when BYU was ranked 18th in the AP Top 25.

UCF will meet Texas Tech again this season on Feb. 24 in Orlando at 4 p.m. ET.