Orlando, FL – UCF (15-11) could not complete a comeback against Cincinnati (18-10), losing 73-71. The Knights tied the game at 71 with 20 seconds remaining, but Cincinnati junior guard David DeJulius scored the winning shot on a jumper with 0.2 seconds left on the clock.
It was a balanced game where both teams played with high intensity and competitiveness. The Bearcats were in front for most of the game, but the Knights never gave up and played aggressively until the end. UCF forced Cincinnati into two turnovers in less than a minute at the end of the game to even the game late. The Bearcats shot with a convincing 54.7% FG (29-53), but they struggled to shoot from the 3-point line (26.7% 3FG, 4-15) and the free throw line (11-15), while the Knights shot 47.3% overall. UCF shot better than Cincinnati from the 3-point line (38.1% 3FG, 8-21) but also struggled from the free throw line (11-16).
The first half ended 33-30 for Cincinnati. Critical factors from this half were the Field Goal percentage (56% for Cincinnati, 38.71% for UCF) and the turnovers (Cincinnati 7, UCF 2). The Bearcats’ turnovers helped UCF to stay in the game despite their struggles with shooting.
In the second half, UCF improved their FG% (58.33%), but also their turnovers (7, total 9) as Cincinnati continued to have a high FG% (53.57%) and kept turning over the ball (8, total 15). But the main factor that differentiated the two halves was fouls. Many fouls were called during the second half (10 against UCF, 9 against Cincinnati), including a flagrant foul and a technical call against UCF Guard Darius Johnson. Those foul calls led the teams to shoot 27 free throws as opposed to the 4 free throw shots in the first half.
The Bearcats were led by senior guard Landers Nolley II, with 18 points, four rebounds and two assists. Nolley had an excellent shooting night 8-13 overall, 2-5 on 3’s), but he struggled in shooting free throws (0-3), and he had seven of his team’s 15 turnovers. The Bearcats also had great performances from senior guard David DeJulius (16 points) and senior forward Ody Oguama (15 points). DeJulius not only had the game-winning shot, but he had a big impact in the second half, where he scored eight points in the last 11 minutes of the half and contributed to eight of his team’s 15 assists (five in the second half). Oguama had a perfect shooting day (7-of-7) with four rebounds and an excellent defensive game against UCF star Taylor Hendricks.
For UCF, senior forward Michael Durr had a significant impact in the game with a season-high 15 points to go along with five rebounds and a block. Durr scored nine of his 15 points in the second half, helping the team stay in contact with Cincinnati for the entire game. It wasn’t a brilliant performance for 6-9 freshman NBA prospect Tyler Hendricks (12 points, 4 rebounds). Even though he shot well from the 3-point line (3-of-4), Hendricks struggled shooting overall (4-of-10). He scored seven of his points in the first half. Hendricks was not very involved in the offense generally or in the final comeback of his team, as he scored his last points with over 12 minutes remaining in the game. Even though he did not have a great game, Hendricks showed much potential, which explains why he is a possible first-round pick in the next NBA Draft.
In the upcoming games, UCF will play again at home against South Florida on Wednesday, February 22, at 7:00 pm, while Cincinnati will play Temple at home Wednesday, February 22, at 7:00 pm.
This article was written by Giorgio Nebuloni, a correspondent and scout for NetScouts Basketball. You can follow us on Facebook, or on twitter.
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