UCF basketball recap: Record Crowd of 4,805 Goes Home Disappointed As UCF Loses to No. 11 Memphis, 87-65
CUSA Fans UCF Correspondent David Gomez brings the latest update on the UCF Golden Knights basketball team.
ORLANDO — Despite a team-high 20 points from Josh Peppers, the Knights 15-6 (4-3) were unable to simmer down the red hot Tigers.
The eleventh ranked Tigers, who improved to 18-3 overall and 8-0 in CUSA with the win, are the highest ranked team to ever visit UCF arena. In what will be the biggest crowd ever at the UCF Arena, as this is the last year the Knights will be playing at the arena since the new 10,000-seat convocation center opens up in August, Memphis ended
UCF’s 12-game home winning streak.
The Tigers started strongly, jumping out to an 8-0 lead in the game’s first three minutes. Meanwhile, UCF was cold in the first five minutes of play. Trailing by 11, the Knights got a spark from Peppers and went on an 11-5 run and came within 5 points.
However, Douglas-Roberts ignited a 12-2 run in the last four minutes of the half, putting the Tigers up 42-27 at the break.
The Tigers never looked back in the second half, as the closest the Knights ever came was 12 points. Calipari’s club just outhustled and outplayed the UCF while once again confirming to the nation that they are the premier program in Conference USA.
Despite the rout, there were some positives that UCF coach Kirk Speraw and his team should extract from the game. For instance, UCF shot 50 percent from the field for the game and became the first squad to shoot 50 percent or better against the Tigers this season. Also, Josh Peppers’ performance of 20 points and five rebounds, which included an 8-of-9 effort from the free throw line, against one of the nation’s top teams had to be encouraging. Mike O'Donnell and Lavell Payne both finished with nine points.
UCF also received some national publicity, as they were featured on ESPN’s Sport Center Top 10. The Golden Knights are hoping that whomever said, “There is no such thing is bad publicity” is right because their inclusion was a result of a monster dunk that Memphis’ Joey Dorsey had on a fast break.
The Knights will be back in action at UCF Arena this weekend when it plays host to Tulsa. The Golden Hurricane is tied with them and two other teams for third place in CUSA.