The UCF Knights were left with a sour taste in their mouths as they fell to the No. 20 George Washington Colonials 67-50 while being outplayed in the second half 33-19.
George Washington’s aggressive perimeter defense and solid shooting were key components to their victory as they shot 52 percent from the paint with 44 of the unit’s 67 points coming from within the field. UCF turned the ball over 14 times and shot just 35 percent from the field in the process.
“We didn’t score. We didn’t really stop them. Just going into conference [play] reminded ourselves what level we have to play at,” junior forward/center Justin McBride said.
In a game where the whole team struggled, senior forward Shaheed Davis tallied 11 points, three rebounds, and two assists, junior forward Tanksley Efianayi added 12 points, and two rebounds in 20 minutes of action.
“They’re a top 25 team. They came into our house… we just didn’t want it bad enough, we didn’t compete hard enough. Defensively, offensively, executing, too many turnovers and we didn’t score enough points,” Efianayi said.
The Knights came out the gate flat, shooting 40 percent from the field while turning over the ball five times in the first five minutes in the game, resulting in a seven point Colonials lead.
UCF responded well with a 12-6 run with seven minutes remaining in the first half. The Knights shot 39 percent from the field, while amassing nine turnovers, yet finding themselves only down by three, 34-31 at the half.
The 17 point deficit was the Knight’s largest loss of the season and the team’s first loss at home in December this season.
“It’s over. At midnight tonight we’ll let it roll, we’ll watch film, and we’ll flush it and we’ll be focused on East Carolina,” Head Coach Donnie Jones said. “Hopefully this will get their attention that you got to do those things right every day.”
The Knights will begin conference play on the road versus the East Carolina Pirates (8-5) at Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum at 6:00 p.m. on Jan. 2.
Christopher Davis is a contributing writer for the Central Florida Future.