UCF Knights late at the buzzer against Temple

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Lora Abdulhak

Despite several chances to either tie, or take the lead in the final possession, the UCF Knights dropped a heartbreaker to the Temple Owls 62-60.

With 18 second left in the game, UCF’s Daiquan Walker attacked the basket and kicked out to A.J. Davis, who missed a three-point attempt that would have put the Knights ahead. Shaheed Davis collected the rebound and hurled a deep three of his own to no avail. A.J. appeared to come through with a tip-in at the buzzer that was initially ruled good, but after further review, was determined came after the buzzer.

“It really hurts, because we’re trying to grow,” UCF head coach Donnie Jones said. “I know those guys are hurting in the locker room. You can hear a pin drop. We’ll regroup, we have to.”

The game was an evenly matched contest from the start, as both teams played solid defense in a game that saw seven ties and nine lead changes. UCF struggled to get into rhythm at times offensively, as the Knights shot only 37 percent from the field, including going seven for 26 from behind the arc.

UCF (11-10, 5-5) was at least able to distribute the basketball to the tune of 17 assists. Four Knights scored at least 9 points, with Matt Williams and Tanksley Efianayi leading the way with 11 apiece.

The Philadelphia native Walker, who was coming off a career high 33 points in Thursday’s 70-62 victory over Tulane, filled the stat sheet with six points, five rebounds and eight assists.

“We played good today, it was just down the stretch, it didn’t go our way,” Walker said. “We got to go back, regroup, and get ready for Cincinnati.

Temple (14-8, 8-3) had three players in double figures, including Levan Shawn Alston Jr.’s 16 to lead the Owls. Quenton DeCosey had 15 and Obi Enechionyia chipped in 14 points.

The loss is the fourth in five games for the Knights, and the road doesn’t get any easier for the Black and Gold. They still have tough road trips to Houston, Temple, Memphis and UConn, as well as home games against Cincinnati, Tulsa and Houston.

“The morale of your team is the important thing for me as the leader of this group,” Jones said. “It wasn’t that we didn’t compete in any of those games, we talked about why we lost those games and what we can do to change that…it’ll be important for us now to compete at a very high level and put ourselves in a position to win.”

UCF will remain at home, as the take on Cincinnati (17-7, 7-4) this Tuesday, Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. from CFE Arena.