Tulsa is concentrated on UCF after a heartbreaker

UCF is aiming to do a lot better in its second makeup game of the week than it did in the first.

After traveling to Memphis for the American Athletic Conference games on Monday and Wednesday – the first makeup from last month – the Knights (4-9, 2-8 AAC) travel to Tulsa for another scheduled game to contest against the Golden Hurricane on Saturday.

It was a tough time for UCF coach Johnny Dawkins and his squad.

Saturday’s game against Tulsa was originally scheduled for January 9, before the Knights encountered COVID-19 issues and contact tracing and pushed the game back a month.

After the 27-point defeat in Memphis on Monday, UCF met the Tigers again in a regular game on Wednesday. After an early 14 point deficit, the Knights hit four points in the second half before falling between 75 and 61. Dawkins said the loss was an improvement on Monday’s blowout.

“Our mindset was better – we understood their press better after Monday’s game,” said Dawkins. “The turnaround from Monday to (Wednesday) was much better.

“I liked the energy we played with. If we’d hit a few punches, it would have been an even better ball game.”

Darius Perry had 18 points while CJ Walker and Darin Green Jr. added 15 and 13 respectively. They each shot 6 against 9 from the field.

Tulsa (9-7, 6-5) have lost three of their last four, but Wednesday’s 65:63 home loss to SMU was a heartbreaker.

After 64-52 with 3:25 on the left, the Hurricane lined up a spirited 10-1 run to pull within three. Another second, Austin Richie was fouled on a 3-point attempt but made only one of three free throws and the Mustangs hit the rebound to take the win.

“We dug too big a hole,” said Tulsa coach Frank Haith. “But we competed and got back into the game. We missed too many rabbits in the first and second half. We missed a lot of layups.”

Curtis Haywood II finished his career with 18 points, Brandon Rachal with 15 and Elijah Joiner with 10 points.

The conference announced Monday that Tulsa’s Rey Idowu was named to the AAC Honor Roll after averaging 18 points, six rebounds and two assists in last week’s games against Temple and East Carolina.

– Field level media

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