After a strong defensive performance at home on Friday, the UCF Knights will continue to play well with their backs to the hoop when they face hosts Cincinnati Bearcats on Sunday for the second time this season.
The Knights won the first American Athletic Conference meeting between the schools (75-70) in Orlando on December 22nd.
If Friday’s win against Tulane is any indication of how the Knights (6-10, 4-9 AAC) will fare against the Bearcats (6-7, 4-4), the hosts can expect a difficult time.
UCF ended the Green Wave offensive with a 53:49 victory and kept the visitors after a deficit of 30:29 at halftime on only 31.6 percent field goalscoring (18 of 57).
In the second win in three games, the squad of coach Johnny Dawkins prevailed in the second half with 24:19 against Tulane and allowed the New Orleans School only six baskets in 27 attempts.
Tulane prevailed 10-0 six minutes later in the second half, but UCF later scored and prevailed against the Green Wave by forcing them to miss their last seven attempts and nine of their last ten total to win To achieve victory.
“Our defense was really good in the second half,” said Dawkins. “It was solid and we really preached that.
“In the last three games we have held the opponents down and this is UCF basketball. We defended our way and everyone went to great lengths tonight.”
Darin Green Jr. led by 18 points in 6v10 long range shooting.
“It’s all mental – you have to want it in defense,” added Green. “We came down and locked them up and stopped them.”
After Thursday’s game in Memphis was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test in the Tigers program, Cincinnati beat Temple 71-69 on Friday as Jeremiah Davenport racked up 12 points, eight rebounds and six assists.
The Bearcats improved to 2-0 against Temple, although the Owls scored 43 points in the second half.
Davenport said the team’s balance is key to victory.
“This is what the coach preaches – togetherness,” said Davenport. “None of our boys are selfish. We play for each other. We did that tonight.”
David DeJulius was added to the AAC’s weekly honor roll on Monday after averaging 19.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists and the Bearcats at 2-0 after a 25-day layoff from COVID-19 had helped.