The UCF Men’s basketball team dropped its second straight game, falling on the road at Temple by a score of 75-56 on Sunday afternoon. The Knights will return to Orlando for their final two games of the regular season next week
Temple (16-12, 8-8) scored the first 16 points of the game, which included four three-pointers, and the Owls never looked back. Temple led 33-20 at halftime behind 54.5 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
“We got off to a poor start and we weren’t able to get in a rhythm,” UCF head coach Johnny Dawkins said. “We haven’t defended anywhere near what we expect our guys to do. Very disappointing for us. It’s not who we are.”
The second half was more of the same as UCF (17-11, 8-8) was never able to gain ground on the Owls. The Knights were outscored 42-36, as Temple shot 55.2 percent from the field and led by as many as 25 points.
Temple held UCF to just 32.7 percent from the field and 5-of-16 from beyond the arc. The Knights had just six assists on 16 field goals and were outrebounded 40-27 on the day.
“Scoring hasn’t come easy for us this year,” Dawkins said. “So when teams are scoring like that, it puts that much more pressure on us every time we come down court. We need to be locked in defensively, because we aren’t going to be playing into the 75, 80-point range.”
Quinton Rose and Shizz Alston Jr., who scored a combined four points in UCF’s win over Temple last month, led the Owls with 19 and 13, respectively. Nat Pierre-Louis came off the bench and added 11 points in the victory.
A.J. Davis led the Knights with 18 points on 3-of-6 from behind the three-point line, adding four rebounds and a steal. B.J. Taylor finished with nine points, while Ceasar DeJesus added eight and Rokas Ulvydas grabbed a team high five boards.
“We have to make sure our mindset is right,” Dawkins said. “We get to go home. We have a great opportunity to play a very good Wichita State team at home and then close out with Tulane. They’re two good basketball teams, so we’re going to need to play well to give ourselves a chance to win.”
UCF will now return home for the remainder of the regular season. The Knights host Wichita State on Mar. 1 and then welcome Tulane to CFE Arena for Senior Day on Mar. 4.