UCF and Memphis will become familiar foes over a three-day period starting Monday.
When their first meeting on Jan. 5 in Orlando was postponed because of COVID-19 cases and ongoing contact tracing inside the Knights’ program, the American Athletic Conference scrambled to reschedule the game.
With UCF already slated to go to go to the Volunteer State for the teams’ second conference contest on Wednesday, the AAC made the makeup date a Monday in Memphis. That eliminated extra travel and meant the schools would face each other twice in a 72-hour span.
The two teams are heading in opposite directions in the AAC standings as February opens.
Memphis (9-6, 5-3) has won three of its past four, while UCF (4-7, 2-6) has lost six of its past seven.
The Tigers are coming off split with SMU, following up a 76-72 victory in Memphis last Tuesday with a 67-65 loss to the Mustangs in Dallas on Thursday.
Memphis erased a 16-point deficit in the second half Thursday and took a late 64-63 lead before SMU closed it out at the foul line.
“We cut the rotation and just played a certain amount of guys, and I really don’t like doing that,” Memphis coach Penny Hardaway said. “When it gets down and dirty, there’s only certain guys that can be on the floor. … We didn’t handle it. Usually those guys handle it.
“I just told them if we played the first half like the second half, we’d have walked out of there with a 10- or 15-point win.”
Landers Nolley II scored 19 points and DeAndre Williams posted a double-double (17 points, 11 rebounds), but no other Tigers scored in double figures at SMU.
On Saturday afternoon at Wichita State, UCF held an eight-point lead with less than four minutes to play but let the margin slip away in a 93-88 overtime loss.
In such a tight game, Knights coach Johnny Dawkins was able to point to carelessness on offense as a main reason for the loss.
“We have to do a better job taking care of the basketball,” Dawkins said. “We had 23 turnovers. That’s way too many. That contributed to what happened out there.”
Jamille Reynolds and Brandon Mahan each topped the Knights with 17 points, Dre Fuller Jr. added 13 and Isaiah Adams registered 12 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
–Field Level Media