Knights Cannot Pull Off Upset at No. 1 Memphis


Feb. 9, 2008

Box Score | Notes | CSTV Highlights

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (www.ucfathletics.com) - Facing a top-ranked team for the second time in school history, the UCF men's basketball team was unable to pull off an upset, falling 85-64 to No. 1 Memphis on Saturday at the FedEx Forum. UCF trailed just 43-35 at halftime, but the hosts opened the second period with a 24-9 run to pull away and record the Conference USA victory.

The Tigers (23-0, 9-0 C-USA) improved their nation-leading home winning streak to 46 games.

Senior guard Mike O'Donnell (Largo, Fla./Largo) led four UCF (12-11, 5-4) players that finished with double-figures in scoring with 15 points. The opening half featured eight lead changes and three ties.

UCF shot 48 percent before halftime, but just 29.6 percent after intermission. The Tigers hit seven 3-pointers following halftime and limited the Knights to just a 23.1 percent shooting performance from deep for the game.

"Memphis is No. 1 for a reason. We did some good things, but if you make a mistake, they will make you pay for it," said UCF head coach Kirk Speraw. "That is what happened with the run in the second half."

UCF led by four points four minutes into the game after a pair of free throws from junior guard Jermaine Taylor (Tavares, Fla./Tavares). The teams traded baskets for the next 10 minutes, with the Tigers grabbing the edge for good with 5:51 remaining in the half when Andre Allen hit a 3-pointer.

The hosts pushed their advantage to 10 points with just under a minute to go, but the Knights cut the deficit to eight at the half when sophomore forward Tony Davis (Sarasota, Fla./Riverview) scored inside on UCF's last possession of the period.

The Knights were facing a No. 1 team for the first time in program history during the regular season. In the first round of the 1996 NCAA Tournament, UCF played top-ranked Massachusetts.

UCF made just three field goals in the opening 10 minutes of the second half. The Tigers led by as many as 27 points after intermission, but the Knights cut the lead to 19 twice after baskets from senior guard Dave Noel (Boynton Beach, Fla./Boynton Beach) with under four minutes on the clock.

Nine different Tigers made 3-pointers as the hosts hit 11 treys for the game. Noel and Taylor both finished with 13 points. In addition to 10 points, Davis paced the Knights with six rebounds, with four coming on the offensive end.

Memphis shot 45 percent overall and finished the game with a 40-31 edge on the glass. The Tigers grabbed 18 offensive boards.

Derrick Rose scored a team-high 15 points as five Tigers totaled double-digits in the category. Joey Dorsey had a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds.

UCF's next contest is set for Feb. 16 at Rice in Houston.

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