MEMPHIS (UCFKnights.com) – Following a stellar regular season that saw the Knights win a program-record 23 games, the UCF men’s basketball team unfortunately made quick exit from its first postseason tournament of 2018-19, falling to Memphis in the quarterfinals of the American Athletic Conference Tournament on Friday.
“You have to give Memphis credit. They played with a sense of purpose,” UCF head coach Johnny Dawkins said. “We ran into a buzz saw. Their players played well and they beat us in most areas of the game today.”
Fourth seeded UCF fell to fifth seeded and home team Memphis by a score of 79-55, eliminating the Knights from the championship. The Tigers advanced to take on top seed Houston Saturday at 3 p.m. ET in the semifinals.
“I’m disappointed in our guys ,in how we played,” Dawkins said. “But I give them credit, they played with a sense of purpose, a sense of desperation, and it showed. They won the 50-50 balls, they beat us in offensive rebounding, they turned us over. They played real well tonight.”
Memphis outscored UCF 17-3 in points off turnovers and the Tigers outrebounded the Knights 41-30, including a 14-8 advantage on the offensive glass.
The Knights (23-8) weren’t able to get into rhythm offensively, shooting just 35.8 percent from the field and 30.0 percent from three-point range.
The Tigers (21-12), meanwhile, shot 45.6 percent from the field for the game, led by Isaiah Maurice off the bench, who finished with 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting.
Tacko Fall led the Knights with his sixth double-double of the season, recording team highs of 12 points and 10 rebounds. He also led UCF with a game-high four blocked shots.
UCF will find out its future postseason plans on Sunday when the NCAA Selection Committee announces the field of 68 for the 2019 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship. The Knights are seeking their first-ever at-large berth to the tournament and their first trip to the tourney since 2005.
“We’ll see what happens, but I think we’ve had a very, very good season. We’ve proven that,” Dawkins said. “We’ve won in hostile environments, we’ve beaten Top 25 teams, and we finished in third place in our conference. We’ve had a very good year.”