UCF couldn’t complete the late game rally versus Memphis as the Knights fell 97-86 with Tigers forward Shaq Goodwin leading the way with a career-high 35 points.
“We didn’t do a good job of matching up in our zone,” redshirt sophomore forward A.J. Davis said. “He [Shaq] runs the floor really well. He probably runs the floor better than anyone in our league. He got going and [we] couldn’t stop his momentum.”
UCF trailed by double digits in the first half, but thanks to their 55 percent second-half shooting from the field and their ability to get 12 points off turnovers, they were able to get the deficit within single digits later in the game.
But the Tigers shot lights out, shooting 51 percent from the field and 52 percent from deep behind the arc in the game, hitting shots when they needed to in order to keep the Knights at arm’s length.
Junior center Justin McBride stepped up in the second half scoring 20 points, getting five rebounds and two blocks, constantly calling for the ball each time he got deep post position, abusing the opposing player.
Davis contributed 15 points and eight rebounds, while sophomore guard Adonys Henriquez and redshirt junior forward Matt Williams combined for 23 points and eight rebounds.
The Knights were caught in a seesaw affair early against the Tigers, exchanging turns leading the game. This happened nine times, four times occurring in the first half. But the Knights eight first half turnovers led to a 14-point first half lead for the Tigers, 54-40.
UCF trailed by just three points with 6:46 remaining in the half, but the Knights’ 22 percent beyond the arc shooting percentage compared to Memphis’s lights out, 7-for-12 shooting from deep, represented a plus-24 point’s advantage for the Tigers.
“We got to tighten up… It’s hard playing from behind in this conference,” junior Justin McBride said. “It’s just one of those things. If you don’t come out prepared or come out ready, they won’t let you come back in the game. It’s a dog fight.”
The next game for the Knights has them slated to square off against UConn (14-5) on Sunday at the CFE Arena at 4 P.M.
Christopher Davis is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future.