The No. 7 seeded Knights lost a close one, as the No. 10 ranked Tulane got the upset in the first round of the AAC tournament in 65-63 fashion.
With a little more than 20 seconds left in the game and UCF down by two, redshirt sophomore forward A.J. Davis threw a bad pass after attempting to inbound the ball, culminating in Tulane’s redshirt sophomore guard Cameron Reynolds running free down the court as the clock expired.
“I knew we had another timeout," Davis said. "We set up a good play to run, I felt like he was open. Just a little miscommunication. They played solid defense and probably a bad decision on my part … I probably could have called a timeout.”
The Knights trailed by eight at halftime, yet they fought their way back into the game, leading by six with 4:40 remaining. But the Green Wave hit a slew of tough shots late, giving them a four-point advantage with 42.7 seconds left in the game.
“I think our shot selection the last four [to] five minutes, I think we took some shots that we shouldn’t have risked,” sophomore guard Adonys Henriquez said. “I’m just really proud of our team, I’m really proud of the seniors for everything they gave to us. Next year we’ll be better; we’ll be a better team.”
Although Davis made one of the most critical errors of the game, he was up until that miscue, highly efficient stuffing the stat sheet with 20 points, nine rebounds, four assists and a steal.
Tulane did most of its damage from the painted area, scoring 36 of its 65 points from inside. The team was also able to get 10 offensive rebounds leading to eight second chance points.
The Knights left their jump shot on the bus in the first half. The team shot an atrocious 19 percent from the field at one point, and 3-for-14 from beyond the arch for the half. The Knights drought reached its peak as they went nine minutes without a made basket.
UCF didn’t do a great job of taking care of the ball either, as Tulane forced them to commit 13 turnovers leading to eight fast-break points.
Although the Knights shot 25 percent from the field for the half, they did a good enough job on defense to stay in the game. The Knights held the Green Wave to 33 percent shooting, keeping them within arm’s reach, trailing 29-21 at halftime.
“As I told our team at halftime, we were down eight [and] we didn’t play as well as we could because we were too hyped up,” head coach Donnie Jones said. “Made some big plays to get ourselves off [and] we were right there to have a chance to win this game.”
Christopher Davis is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future,