The Knights fell to the Cougars 88-61, losing their sixth consecutive game—with their last home victory coming Jan. 16 versus East Carolina.
UCF unraveled in the second half versus Houston, shooting 41 percent with 13 turnovers, resulting in 18 fast-break points for the road team.
“When a team [is] playing high pace … you want to match that energy,” freshman forward Chad Brown said. “We played pretty good in the first half and in the second half, we tried to come out with energy and we weren’t knocking down some shots—[and] they picked up the intensity.”
The Knights couldn’t seem to flip the switch in the second half, trailing by as many as 33 points with 6:06 remaining in the game.
Freshman guard Chance McSpadden seemed like the only UCF player to get his game going. The freshman scored a team-high 15 points, five rebounds and seven assists in 32 minutes of action.
“I feel like I’m getting a lot better, feeling a little bit more confident this season,” McSpadden said. “Coach [has] been trusting and believing in me. I’ve been coming every day to practice, working hard, showing what I can do, bringing energy to the team; I’m just trying to build from that.”
Sophomore guard Adonys Henriquez was the only other player to score in double figures with 12 points in 31 minutes.
The Knights hopped out to an 8-2 early lead just five minutes into the game. But the Cougars quickly responded with a 6-0 run of their own to tie the game at eight apiece.
The first half saw six ties and five lead changes, but Houston closed the quarter on a 16-3 run, heading to the half up 37-25 over UCF.
“Tough game, confidence is something we’re struggling with right now,” head coach Donnie Jones said. “We get off to a good start, a couple tough plays don’t go our way and we just got ourselves down. We got to push through that.”
The Knights will hit the road to face the Temple Owls (17-10), looking to avenge their 62-60 loss at home on Feb. 6. Tip-off is at 12 P.M. at Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on ESPW and ESP3.
Christopher Davis is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future.