Turnovers Plague UCF Against Cincinnati

Courtesy UCF Athletics

Matt+Williams+had+a+career+high+24+points%2C+including+six+3-pointers+in+the+loss+to+Cincinnati.+

Danny Morales

Matt Williams had a career high 24 points, including six 3-pointers in the loss to Cincinnati.

Matt Williams career high 24 points weren’t enough for the UCF basketball team, as a second half self destruction doomed the Knights against Cincinnati.

UCF (11-11, 5-6) turned the ball over 18 times, 13 in the second half, as the Bearcats easily pulled away down the stretch for a 69-51 victory Tuesday night at CFE Arena.

“Tonight we let our emotions, you know, one play affects another play, and then it’s another play,” UCF head coach Donnie Jones said. “We can’t let that carry on, we have to be able to stop that and change momentum.”

Williams had 18 of his 24 in the first half, including four of his six 3-pointers, as UCF was back and forth with Cincinnati throughout the first 20. The Knights went into the locker room down only one, 31-30.

The second half saw an entirely different UCF team though. The Bearcats went on 13-3 and 13-0 runs within the first eight minutes of the second half, mostly by the aid of Knights turnovers that led to easy transition buckets.

UCF was out-rebounded 43 to 30 in the contest, including surrendering 16 offensive rebounds. The team shot 38 percent from the field and struggled from the free-throw line, firing just 47 percent.

“Some of these young guys have to be able to push through it mentally. When you’re missing free throws, we missed 10 tonight, that matters when you’re playing in these games against good teams.”

A.J. Davis was the only other Knight with more than five points. The sophomore guard finished the game with 16 points and seven rebounds.

Cincinnati (18-7, 8-4) guard Kevin Johnson led the Bearcats with 13 points, while guard Farad Cobb added 12 and forward Gary Clark chipped in 11.

The loss is the fifth in six games for UCF, as the loss of B.J. Taylor, and Adonys Henriquez has really hindered the offensive productivity for Knights in conference play.

“There’s no excuses, you got to play with the guys you got,” said Jones. “Unfortunately it’s really hard when the two leading scorers from a year ago are sitting over there [every time you call a timeout] in sweatsuits.”

The Knights will hit the road for the next two games, as they travel to Texas to take on Houston (16-7, 6-5) Saturday at 3 p.m, followed with a trip to Memphis Feb. 17 to take on the Tigers. UCF will be back at CFE Arena Feb. 21 to take on Tulsa.