Earlier this week, UCF lost a game by nine points in which they shot 54 percent from the floor and hit 10 three pointers. Tonight, they won a game by 18 points in which they shot just 38 percent from the floor, went 5 of 20 from 3-point land, and shot 63 percent from the free throw line. The difference? Turnovers.
In the loss to Rice, UCF turned the ball over 18 times but the Knights turned it over just twice tonight. The other difference was Isaiah Sykes. Sykes was a big part of the struggles in the loss at Rice as he committed one-third of the turnovers but had zero tonight in 38 minutes of play as he led the way with his sixth double-double of the season scoring 23 points while collecting 11 rebounds.
The first half of the game was extremely sluggish as head coach Donnie Jones sat starting point guard A.J. Rompza and starting center Josh Crittle related to issues after the game at Rice. Freshman Kasey Wilson got his first start of the season while P.J. Gaynor, Rod Days, and Wayne Martin saw more minutes than they had in quite some time and the Knights went into the locker room with a 25-23 lead. The second half was a different story as UCF dominated 38 to 22 on the strength of its defense. They forced the Miners into 13 turnovers and held their leading scorer, Michael Perez, to just five points in 30 minutes of play.
The win allowed the Knights to retain their fourth spot in the conference standings as there were no upsets in Conference USA tonight. UTEP had been a big part of those upsets over the past two weeks as they had knocked off the top three teams coming into tonight. UCF’s next game is on the road this Tuesday night at Memphis where the Knights have never won a game.