The UCF Knights fell in another conference game with a 75-74 loss to the Tulane Green Wave at Addition Financial Arena on Saturday.
The Knights led for the majority of the game and seemed as if they had locked down the win, but a collapse late in the second half denied them their chance at victory.
The first half of play started off strong for UCF as they went on a 7-0 run to start the game.
This was followed by some mistakes from the Knights as they committed three straight turnovers and gave up an early lead midway through the half.
UCF was able to turn it around with a solid defense and quick scoring, giving them a 39-32 lead going into the second half.
On the defensive end, UCF used a zone look which forced Tulane into some bad shots, leading the Green Wave to a 39% shooting performance in the first half.
Quick and efficient scoring also helped the Knights to their first-half lead with UCF shooting 52% from the field. They even ended the half hot, sinking 6 of 8 of their last buckets.
This wave of scoring started with back-to-back three’s from freshman guard Darin Green Jr. and redshirt senior guard Matt Milon, as well as an and-one play by freshman guard Tony Johnson Jr.
Milon finished the game with 9 points and an assist, while Johnson Jr. was responsible for 15 points, three rebounds, four assists and a steal.
The second half started strong for the Knights with an assist of the year candidate, as redshirt junior forward Colin Smith went behind the back to Green Jr. who then splashed a three.
Green Jr. finished the matchup with 12 points, one rebound, two assists and a steal, while Smith contributed 16 points, 13 rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocks.
UCF’s strong start to the second half was shortlived as both teams turned the ball over and struggled to make shots.
UCF was able to recover from their mistakes for a majority of the half but struggled to slow down Tulane late.
The Green Wave’s efficient 50% second-half shooting from both the field and beyond the arc — along with more turnovers and bad plays by the Knights — led to a 10-point UCF collapse with three minutes left in regulation.
With the loss, the Knights are now 14-12 overall and 5-9 in conference play, while the Green Wave improve to 12-15 overall and 4-11 in conference play.
The Knights will be looking to recover from this tough loss and climb their way back up the conference standings with an away game against the UConn Huskies on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Connecticut. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2.