PHILADELPHIA (UCFKnights.com) – Following a pair of wins over ranked opponents, the No. 25 UCF men’s basketball team couldn’t finish the regular season with a victory Saturday, falling on the road to Temple by a score of 67-62.
The loss drops the Knights to 23-7 on the season and 13-5 in American Athletic Conference play. It is still the most regular season victories in a season during UCF’s Division I history. The 13-5 record in league play is the best by a Knights team since UCF joined The American.
It does, however, prevent the Knights from earning the second seed in next week’s American Athletic Conference Championship. UCF will now be the fourth seed unless Tulane defeats Wichita State and Tulsa tops Memphis later tonight.
On Saturday, it seemed Aubrey Dawkins was the only Knight who was able to get anything done on offense, scoring 36 of UCF’s 62 points.
It marked a career-high for the UCF guard, topping his 31-point outburst against Rutgers as a member of the Michigan Wolverines back in 2015.
“He was terrific. He came in ready to go. He was focused,” UCF head coach Johnny Dawkins said of his son. “Coming off an injury vs. Cincinnati, we didn’t know if he was even going to play until game time. He gave us what he had and that’s all you can ask.”
Dawkins went 12-of-23 from the field, 6-of-11 from three-point range and 6-of-6 from the free throw line, while hauling in 11 rebounds for just his third career double figure rebound game.
It wasn’t enough though, as he was the only Knight in double figures for points or rebounds, and the Knights shot a season-low 36.4 percent from the floor and turned the ball over 18 times as a group.
“I think we could have done a few things better, like take care of the basketball,” Dawkins said. “I thought that really hurt us. Eighteen turnovers in this type of game, you can’t have that. You’re not going to beat a really good team on their home court with that many turnovers.”
Temple (23-8, 13-5) took advantage of the 18 turnovers, scoring 23 points off of them. The Knights, on the other hand, only scored nine points off of the Owls’ 11 turnovers.
The Owls, who were playing in head coach Fran Dunphy’s last regular season home game, were led by senior Shizz Alston Jr. The point guard finished with 21 points and six assists to lead Temple to the victory on Senior Day.
UCF will return home and begin preparation for the American Athletic Conference Championship in Memphis. The Quarterfinals are set for Friday from FedEx Forum.
“We’ve had a good year and we have a chance to be a great one,” Dawkins said. “We’ve got our conference tournament coming up and I think we’re as good as anyone in the tournament. We need to go there, take it one game at a time and see what we can do.”